The Regional Municipality of Durham

News Release

Prevent cavities and gum disease this Oral Health Month

WHITBY, ON March 29, 2016

April is Oral Health Month and the Durham Region Health Department is reminding area residents that with proper oral hygiene and good eating habits, cavities and gum disease are one hundred per cent preventable.

Local statistics show that last year in Durham Region, 37 per cent of children had experienced dental decay by age seven. “Cavities can be painful and may lead to serious infections,” explained Brian Convey, Manager, Oral Health, with the Health Department. “Dental pain can result in loss of sleep, make eating healthy foods difficult and impact a child’s ability to learn and attend school. Good oral health is important for your child’s self-esteem, sense of well-being and their overall health.”

In January, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care rolled out the new Healthy Smiles Ontario (HSO) program. HSO is designed to improve access to dental care for lower-income families in need of support and to help reduce the burden of dental disease. The program offers free preventive, routine and emergency dental services for eligible children 17 and under; families may still be eligible for the program even if they have dental insurance. For more information about eligibility or to self-register, visit

Throughout April, the Health Department will be promoting the HSO program. “We welcome any families having difficulty accessing a dentist to contact our office for a screening to see if they are eligible for the Healthy Smiles program,” added Mr. Convey.

The Health Department provides essential oral health information and assists with HSO enrollment. The HSO program and the Health Department’s Dental Clinic in the Whitby Mall support the Canadian Dental Associations’ recommendation of bringing your child to the dentist by their first birthday for baby’s first dental check-up. “If residents can’t afford to go to a dentist, Health Department staff will be happy to screen their baby at our Whitby Mall clinic,” added Mr. Convey.

During Oral Health Month, the Health Department will distribute important information regarding oral health and the HSO program to schools in priority neighbourhoods throughout Durham Region, and also through the Health Department’s social media channels.

For more information about oral health, the HSO program or to book a dental screening at our clinic, call the Health Department’s Oral Health division at 905-723-1365 or 1-866-853-1326, or visit

Media inquiries:

The Regional Municipality of Durham:

Glendene Collins – Health Department, 905-668-7711 ext. 2999 or

If this information is required in an accessible format, please contact the Accessibility Co-ordinator at 1-800-372-1102 extension 2009.

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For more information, please contact Health Department.