Could Canada Implement Universal Dental Care?

Could Canada Implement Universal Dental Care?

Canada has a robust healthcare system similar to the rest of the US. You pay as you go for the treatment you have – most of which residents cover using their healthcare insurance. A study by the Fraser Institute in 2020 found the average single individual that earns an income of $44,153 will pay $4,894 per year for their healthcare insurance. Canadians can also access the universal healthcare system medicare, which provides residents access to necessary hospital services without paying.

The question is, could Canada be the first to introduce universal dental care? Keep reading to find out.

The Benefits

The list of dental care benefits and the correlation between good oral health and good general health is massive. Conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis can be linked to poor dental health. Still, you currently can’t access dental care with a healthcare card; it has to be a credit card.

As it stands, 1 in 3 Canadians don’t have dental insurance, and 1 in 5 avoid dentists because they can’t afford to pay. Therefore, it’s easy to assume that the benefits of introducing a universal dental care system would be huge. Millions of Canadians could have access to the dental treatment they need, preventing problems such as infections, gum disease, and tooth decay.

And, as one dentist in Hamilton Ontario states, when thinking about your oral health, the correct care goes far beyond brushing and flossing twice a day. But perhaps better oral health has to start with more accessible oral health care. Aside from the various conditions linked to proper dental care – more than a quarter of people hate their smile and refuse to smile in pictures because they don’t like their teeth.

Interestingly, half of the people in the study weren’t aware of the correcting brushing technique – a statistic that might be lower if there was better access to dental care services in Canada.

The Limitations

There’s one big limitation to any universal healthcare system, and that’s the financial implications. The Canada Dental Association reports the spending for dental treatment per person is $378.60 for the year. Considering there are 38 million Canadians, that’s a lot to cover. Although much of the public think dental care should be included in the medicare package, many private dentists have been opposed to the idea for years – naturally.

Private dentists can make $850 for performing a root canal procedure, and for a white filling on a medium-sized tooth, they can make around $250. The scope of potential income from paying private clients is huge – yet there’s still the overwhelming vote that — and rightly so — dental care should be offered within the medicare package as oral care is such an essential part of our overall health.

Dental care is pricey, so it’s no wonder that so many Canadians choose to neglect to attend the dentist; they’d prefer waiting to see how a problem unfolds. Although Canada has no plans to start accepting dental care on healthcare insurance packages, there’s a cry out from the public for it to happen. Such an offer could encourage millions to tend to their all-important oral health.

CATEGORIES : Dentistry


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