Oral health is an often neglected yet important part of human health. It seems as though it should be a no-brainer that one ought to take care of their oral health, but all around the world, this is not the case. Many people neglect their oral hygiene not only because they see it as trivial but also think they do enough every day by cleaning out the single most important vital organ – the mouth. However true it is that humans clean their mouth every day, it does not negate that this is not enough to ensure the mouth is completely clean and free of what could end up being life-threatening problems.
The most important part of the mouth to clean is the teeth, and renowned oral healthcare expert, dentist Dr. Carr accents this. The role played by the teeth in helping you grind food into digestible bits is exactly why it needs to be well attended at all times. Your teeth come in contact with different types of food, which carry several kinds of bacteria that can damage them over time. This is why you should be committed to ensuring that they are well cleaned and maintained.
The biggest challenge any country faces with its population embracing oral healthcare is one rooted in classism. Many people consider taking care of the body’s vital parts more important than taking care of their oral health because they believe it is a waste of money. They pin it as a luxury, and only the affluent should bother about it. Canada is one of the countries with people who think this way, and, perhaps, the system is not doing enough to change the narrative.
Oral Healthcare in Canada
Canada’s healthcare system is one that many would applaud on initial inspection until they discover how little an effort is made to subsidize oral health care for her citizens who cannot afford it. Most of the effort to provide oral healthcare for Canadians comes from private insurance, which, as everyone knows, is out to make a buck. Considering this, one can say that dental care in Canada is not exactly cheap.
Indeed, Canada can be said to be ahead of many other countries regarding oral health care. However, the truth is that more needs to be done to make the services cheaper and more accessible to low-income earners.
In 2015, it was estimated that the money spent on the dental sector all amounted to a value worth about ten billion dollars. The actual figure is believed to be about $13.6 billion. That figure may seem huge, but its fraction in the total amount spent echoes the sentiment many people hold that oral health isn’t all that important.
Dental healthcare makes up about 6.2% of 212-billion-dollar healthcare expenditure in Canada. Over 90% of the 6.2% is spent by private health insurance companies; the amount the Government spends is simply too low and near appalling.
Of course, there is a nasty side-effect of public spending on dental health care being so low (not even up to a billion dollars). Private healthcare companies treat healthcare as a business, and they are not out to ensure everyone can get dental healthcare no matter what their brochure says. This leaves the vulnerable members of the Canadian community unable to access dental healthcare. They include senior citizens, low-income citizens, Aboriginal people, children, and people with special needs. These people find it difficult to afford and access dental healthcare, and when the most vulnerable people in a country find it hard to access a service, then that service is simply inaccessible.
It is worth noting that it isn’t as though healthcare is terrible compared to other countries in Canada. The figures are impressive when one goes through them. 3 out of 4 Canadians have had some form of oral healthcare work done on them by a professional, every year too. 84% of Canadians believe they have good oral health. These figures are no mean feats, but the problem lies with the group of people who find it the most difficult to access oral healthcare.
There is still a lot of work to be done if the Canadian government will change the narrative that oral healthcare is a luxury. Moreover, dental experts have stated that oral health problems can become life-threatening if left to fester.
One way to manage this problem is for the government to increase how much it spends on oral healthcare, this will make it more affordable, and it would show citizens that it must be important for the government to make such an effort.