Lack of dental care a modern-day tragedy – Opinion/Letter – Lack of dental care a modern-day tragedy
March 15, 2009

Re: ‘My back teeth are falling apart’  March 12

Lack of dental care clearly reduces a person’s quality of life and is associated with other illness that the person may develop. In some cases, the problems that come from neglect can be life-threatening. Poor dental health affects physical, mental and social well-being and is a barrier to participation in society.

The fact that nearly 40 per cent of Ontarians lack regular dental care is a modern-day tragedy.

At Evangel Hall Mission we see the dreadful impact on people who have little or no access to dental care. For too many people having teeth pulled is not the last option – it is the only option. In the meantime, they endure unspeakable pain and end up with huge gaps where teeth are missing.

Dental work is costly, with barely any allowance from social assistance, especially for people between the ages of 19 and 64. Recognizing this huge gap in services, we have opened a free dental care clinic for the homeless and impoverished in our community. In partnership with the Toronto College of Dental Hygiene and Auxiliaries we also offer free hygiene appointments for low-income persons.

We have to rely on the generosity of donors and volunteers from the dental community to provide this service. It’s time for the Ontario government to put words into action and offer support to organizations trying to alleviate this distressing lack of dental care.

Joseph Taylor, Executive Director, Evangel Hall Mission, Toronto

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