The Leader of the New Democratic Party, Jagmeet Singh, has requested that the federal government helps to finance upcoming oral healthcare projects in Quebec. The projects aim to help those who are on low incomes or live in remote areas. The overall aim is for an increase in the opportunity for such people to receive much-needed dental care.
New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh has requested that the federal government should step in and help finance a Quebec-based pilot project that aims to improve dental care for low-income individuals and families.
Singh has consistently been a vocal supporter of increased dental care access. Singh has now written a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, urging him to assist with the pilot projects.
The project is a first-of-its-kind plan to assist those in Quebec. Many people across Canada struggle to access much-needed dental care. These pilot projects could pave the way for further projects, with the potential of helping citizens across all of Canada to have better access to dental care.
Dental health in Canada
Oral health in Canada is generally strong, though there are concerning statistics. For instance, while Canadians have been listed as having the seventh-best oral health in the world, there are cost issues .
Research shows that in a 12-month period, just 75% of Canadians visited a dentist. 23% of Canadians said they were put off from visiting the dentist due to the cost involved .
Dental care is not part of Medicare. As a result, many are unable to afford it. Singh has taken notice of this. Singh has said that “too many people have found themselves in emergency rooms because of dental problems that could easily be prevented if they could afford routine dental care” .
The pilot projects mentioned above concern the province of Quebec. In Quebec, public dental care is offered to children under the age of 10. But otherwise, full costs apply.
Christian Dubé, the Health Minister of Quebec, recently unveiled five pilot projects that would allow Quebec to offer free dental services in certain areas.
The clinics would offer services to around 22,000 people ! They would specifically be for those on low incomes, or for people who are living in remote regions. The different projects are taking place in various locations across Quebec .
The projects will involve the recruitment of dentists, dental hygienists and other staff members. The pilot projects will cost approximately $3million in the first year .
This is the first phase of an overall project aimed at reducing inequalities in dental care. If this phase proves successful, a second phase could extend the services to 600,000 people .
Dubé commented by saying “unfortunately, with the system that we know, there are many people who go without oral care and shouldn’t have to” . Dubé went on to say that if the overall project was successful, it could be replicated in other provinces in Canada .
Under the leadership of Singh, the NDP has supported improvements in dental care across Canada. Therefore, it is unsurprising that Singh is urging the government to assist in this project.
Singh has referred to oral health as being one of Canada’s “biggest divides”, due to how those with lower income struggled with the fees involved . Moreover, Singh has stated it is “foolish that your tongue and your throat is covered by the public health system, but not your teeth” .
The NDP made a modest improvement at the recent Canadian federal election. They secured approximately 18% of the national vote. Their approach to oral healthcare has proven popular.
Singh is now putting pressure on the federal government to act. Singh is hoping that by assisting with these projects, that it will increase the chances of a successful outcome. Therefore, further investment may follow. As a result, those with low incomes could get improved oral healthcare, which is an area that Singh is clearly passionate about.
What we offer at Taradale Dental
It is important for dental problems to be addressed early. Any oral-based problems will be identified at check-ups. This helps to prevent the problem getting worse. If and when further treatment is needed after a check-up, our patients receive a clear treatment plan.
The best way of avoiding extra treatment is to have strong oral hygiene. This includes brushing our teeth at least twice a day, flossing regularly, and getting a dental check-up at least twice a year. Avoiding sugary foods and drink and not smoking also helps.
 DMFT Index. (2018). The DMFT Index: Healthy primary teeth by country. Available: https://www.yongeeglintondental.com/2018/07/23/healthy-primary-teeth/. Last accessed: 27th November 2021.
 Statistics Canada. (2019). Dental Care, 2018. Available: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-625-x/2019001/article/00010-eng.htm. Last accessed: 27th November 2021.
 La Presse Canadienne. (2021). NDP asks federal government to help finance Quebec dental clinic pilot project. Available: https://montrealgazette.com/news/quebec/ndp-asks-federal-government-to-help-finance-quebec-dental-clinic-pilot-project. Last accessed: 26th November 2021.
 La Pressé Canadienne. (2021). Quebec to offer free dental services in five pilot projects. Available: https://montrealgazette.com/news/quebec/quebec-to-offer-free-dental-services-in-five-pilot-projects. Last accessed: 26th November 2021.
 Jones, R. P. (2021). Singh renews pledge of federal dental care, says Liberals take Atlantic Canada for granted. Available: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/singh-dental-care-1.6165041. Last accessed: 26th November 2021.