• Dental care should be part of basic health care: UBC study

    Open your mouth and your bank account wide ... (A patient poses with Dentist Dr Lance Knight in Sainsbury's Sale store where he has opened the first Uk in -tore dental practice on Septemeber 15, 2008 in Manchester, England. The new private facility is the first in the UK and follows Sainsbury's first in store doctors surgery earlier this year) ORG XMIT: POS2015102018334641

    All Canadians, especially low-income Canadians, should have dental care as part of their basic health care coverage, a new study by the University of B.C. concludes.

    According to a survey of 567 people in four primary health care clinics in B.C. and Ontario that served large numbers of low-income and aboriginal residents, 46 per cent rated their oral health as fair to poor, with 44 per cent saying they sometimes or often experience pain in their teeth and mouth.

    “Those numbers are three times higher than the general Canadian population as reported by the Canadian Health Measures Survey,” said UBC nursing professor Annette Browne, who led the study. “Clearly, the people we interviewed face tremendous oral health issues.”

    Browne said that participants may even have underestimated the extent of their dental problems, as researchers observed that many of those who reported fair or passable oral health were already missing many of their teeth, making it difficult for them to eat a full range of foods.

    Many of the participants were also struggling with existing health conditions.

    Co-researcher and UBC PhD graduate Bruce Wallace said in a statement that the findings highlight the need for affordable dental services for Canada’s most economically disadvantaged groups.

    “Many low-income groups have no dental insurance or have only public dental health benefits, and therefore they’re highly likely to forego dental work due to costs and other barriers,” said Wallace.

    “We need to integrate oral health benefits within universal health insurance and consider offering dental care in alternate health care settings, such as community health care centres.”

    The study was conducted as part of EQUIP, a five-year research program led by Browne and colleagues from other universities, which looks at enhancing health care access for vulnerable populations.


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