On Monday, May 9th, MPP Arthur Potts (Beaches-East York) introduced the newly-integrated Healthy Smiles program to students and staff at George Webster PS. He was joined by school Principal Kimberley Pividor, Vice-Principal Jerome Trevena, and local TDSB Trustee Sheila Cary-Meagher.
After a warm introduction from Trustee Cary-Meagher, MPP Potts discussed the importance of dental care and a few of the key benefits of the program. Some three hundred Kindergarten to grade 3 students then enjoyed a brushing video featuring Sesame Street’s Elmo, and received toothbrushes and toothpaste generously donated by Dr. Aisha Romain from Danforth Children’s Dentistry. Before wrapping up MPP Potts thanked Dr. Romain (who was unable to attend), Principal Pividor, and the students for their participation.
Research demonstrates that untreated oral health problems can affect a child’s ability to eat, sleep and concentrate in school, which can impact their growth and development. The new Healthy Smiles Ontario program is part of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy commitment to build community capacity to deliver oral health prevention and treatment services to children and youth from low-income families in Ontario.
The Healthy Smiles program is an expansion of current provincial efforts in dental care. More than 323,000 children and youth from low-income homes are getting free dental care through the new Healthy Smiles Ontario program, helping families in Beaches-East York and across the province raise healthier kids. These children can access free preventive, routine, emergency and essential care from licensed dental providers.
Ontario has integrated six publicly funded dental programs into one, providing a simplified enrolment process and making it easier for eligible children to get the care they need. These changes also mean that 70,000 more children from low-income families have become eligible for free dental services. Applicants can now sign up for this program online at ontario.ca/healthysmiles. They can also contact their local public health unit for information and support.
Investing in dental care for children and youth is part of the government's plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which provides patients with faster access to the right care; better home and community care; the information they need to live healthy; and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.
“We are making it easier for children to get the dental care they need because having good oral health and a healthy smile can have positive impacts on a child’s overall health, self-esteem and ability to learn. Families are encouraged to visit ontario.ca/healthysmiles to find out if they’re eligible and to enrol in this program. Tooth decay is one of the most common childhood diseases, but it’s preventable with the proper dental care, and our expanded Healthy Smiles program is helping more kids access these important services.”
— Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
“The Healthy Smiles program will make a real difference for kids here at George Webster, and across our community. Students know that dental health is important, and I’m happy we have streamlined the program to help kids from low-income families keep their teeth healthy. Healthy Smiles is yet another example of how our government is focusing on the future of our Province, and I’m proud to be discussing a program that will make a difference in the lives of so many of my constituents."
- MPP Arthur Potts, Beaches-East York
For more information please contact:
Kimberly Aherne, Legislative Assistant to MPP Potts
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