Starting in April, the maximum net family income to be eligible for low-cost dental care will be raised from $20,000 to over $21,000. The move is expected to open up access to dental care to over 70,000 children from birth to age 18. The expansion to the Healthy Smiles Program is part of the Province’s five-year strategy to tackle poverty issues, says Peterborough MPP and Rural Affairs Minister Jeff Leal.
As an added bonus, the net family income is also raised to $1,500 for each additional child in the family. In addition, any child whose family already has access to social and public assistance is already qualified for the new dental care program.
Dr. Rosana Pellizzari, Peterborough’s medical officer of health, says the adjusted income standard is hoped to help prevent extreme dental health issues which can lead residents to the emergency department. Locally, the Peterborough Regional Health Centre sees 65 percent more emergency department visits for oral health issues compared to the rest of the province.
The Healthy Smiles Program already provides dental care through Community Dental Health Centre which is open six days per week at Peterborough Square, and through the mobile dental RV, which makes stops around the city and county.
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