January 14th, 2020

Children’s dental care needs to be expanded

Halifax -- The NDP is calling for the continued expansion of universal children’s dental care. The Standing Committee on Health will meet today at 1 pm at Province House to discuss Children’s Oral Health.

“Many families struggle to pay for the cost of dental care for their children and go without, especially in their teen years,” said NDP Health Committee member Susan Leblanc. “Dental health care is health care. We should be doing more to make sure that children in our province are getting the care they need.”

The health of children’s teeth is an issue in Nova Scotia. Thirty-three per cent of all pediatric day surgeries at the IWK in 2016/17 were for dental extractions and restorations related to dental cavities. The NDP introduced legislation last spring that would create a universal school-based dental care program for all students in public schools in Nova Scotia.

“Children’s teeth shouldn’t be left out of MSI-covered health care in our province,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “Having a school-based program would make sure that all school-aged children would actually be able to get basic dental care -- period. This would be an important first step toward expanding public health care to include people’s teeth.”

The NDP government legislated the expansion of the Children’s Oral Health Program so it would cover children 16 and under. When the Liberals came to office, they cancelled the planned expansion, meaning that thousands of children were prevented from accessing publicly-funded dental care services.