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Oral Health

Program Description

There is an increasing body of evidence that shows the relationship between oral health and general health. In 2000, the Surgeon General of the United States stated that, "Oral Health is integral to general health. You cannot be healthy without oral health. Oral health and general health should not be interpreted as separate entities." He further noted that, "Oral diseases are progressive and cumulative and become more complex over time. They can affect our ability to eat, the foods we choose, how we look, and the way we communicate. These diseases can affect economic productivity and compromise our ability to work at home, at school or on the job." 1

The goal of the Oral Health Division is to reduce mortality and morbidity related to oral diseases. Our programs and services are prescribed under the Mandatory Programs of the MOHLTC as well as the HPPA. Our target population is vulnerable children in the Region up to 17 years of age.

Our core activities include:

  • Oral Health Assessment and Surveillance includes screening children in all government funded schools in Durham Region and screening non-school attending children, in our Whitby clinic, for Healthy Smiles Ontario (HSO) eligibility
  • Providing oral health promotion and disease prevention education in high risk schools or upon request
  • Providing free preventive clinical services such as fluoride, cleanings and pit and fissure sealants in our oral health clinic
  • Providing restorative clinical services such as x-rays, fillings and extractions in our oral health clinic
  • Providing clinical services using portable equipment to children in remote areas of the Durham Region
  • Providing staffing to promote oral health at local health fairs and community events
  • Administers the dental benefits programs for Ontario Works(OW) recipients and Ontario Disability Support Plan (ODSP) supplemental dental benefits

Healthy Smiles Ontario has three different streams:

  1. HSO-Core Stream-with financial eligibility
  2. HSO- Emergency & Essential Services Stream-children who are in need of emergency and or/essential services as identified by a dental professional and show financial hardship
  3. HSO-PSO- Preventive Services Only Stream- services offered are based on current decay, diet, and oral hygiene.

1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville MD. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health 2000.