Dental Health Care
WHEREAS dental health is integral to human health;
WHEREAS the Green Party of Canada is committed to promoting health equity for all Canadians;
BE IT RESOLVED that basic dental care be made a publicly funded health service.
Health care in Canada is considered a provincial/territorial responsibility, guided by provisions of the federal Canada Health Act (1984), which establishes criteria and conditions that provincial and territorial health plans must meet in order for them to receive federal cash transfers. The Act requires provision of medically necessary physician and hospital services: however medically necessary has not been defined. Since the Canada Health Act was adopted, knowledge about what is required to maintain health and address health problems has evolved, and there are now initiatives to ensure universal coverage of a broader array of evidence-informed health services.
We now know that provision of basic dental health care is necessary for overall health: poor dental health can contribute to many other health problems.
As noted by Health Canada:
Oral health is not only important to your appearance and sense of well-being, but also to your overall health. Cavities and gum disease may contribute to many serious conditions, such as diabetes and respiratory diseases. Untreated cavities can also be painful and lead to serious infections. Studies are also currently examining whether there is a link between poor oral health and heart disease and between poor oral health and women delivering pre-term, low birth weight (PLBW) babies. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/life-vie/dent-eng.php
The Green Party of Canada is committed to preventative health care, and to promoting wellness. Given current knowledge of the health risks of cavities and gum disease, ensuring public funding of basic dental health care for all Canadians is a logical extension of this policy.
As things stand, dental health care is covered (in whole or in part) for Canadians with employer sponsored or private health care plans. However, many low income Canadians cannot afford dental health care, leading to serious health inequities.
Our current platform states: "It is appalling that in a country as wealthy as Canada, our children do not have guaranteed no-cost access to high quality dental care. In order to address the crisis among the most marginal in our society, we will expand our public health care coverage to include dental coverage for low-income Canadians under the age of eighteen."
If adopted, this resolution will extend this policy to provide basic dental health care to all Canadians.