Anne Kingston: The glaring omission of dental care from Canadian health-care plans is both illogical and a public-health concern.
When Bernie Sanders took his well-publicized cook’s tour of Canada’s much-vaunted universal public health care system recently, he wouldn’t have seen a cavity being ﬁlled or a root canal performed or a missing front tooth replaced. That’s because most oral health care is exempt from provincial and territorial health-care plans (some dental services are covered by government dental programs, but working-class people lacking employer coverage are on their own).
It’s a glaring omission that’s both illogical and a public-health concern. We know that periodontal disease affects heart health; that an untreated tooth infection can be fatal; that mouth pain can lead to drug addiction and force people to stay home from work; that dentists and dental hygienists can spot precancerous or cancerous lesions, as well as diabetes and gastroesophageal reflux disease; and that hospital emergency rooms are flooded with people with untreated dental problems.
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