MUSKOKA – A mobile dental clinic is making its way around Muskoka starting this month to help children of low-income families receive care they need.
The mobile clinic will be stopping in Gravenhurst on Sept. 26 at the health unit’s office, which is located at 25 Pineridge Gate, and in Huntsville on Sept. 19 and 20 at Robinson’s Independent Grocers, 131 Howland Drive.
The program, Healthy Smiles, is a provincial program that’s been running since 2010 with a focus on prevention and early intervention.
It’s meant to help children aged 17 and younger whose family income is $20,000 or less and doesn’t have dental coverage or can’t afford it.
“Children who live in low-income have much greater rates of tooth decay than children who don’t. By helping families be able to access, particularly preventative, dental care for their children they can help these children to grow up healthy,” said Heather Murray, oral health program supervisor with Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “It takes the burden off the family if they can’t afford care and they’re trying to get these services for their children.”
If a family has an income higher than $20,000, but their child has an urgent dental need they can still be covered through the Children in Need of Treatment Program.
“With that program, the child must have an urgent dental problem such as pain, infection, trauma and large cavities,” said Murray.
The mobile clinic is also available for adults who are on any publicly-funded dental program, such as Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support Program or Non-insured Health Benefits for First Nations and Inuit.
The mobile clinics also take drop-ins if time permits.
It will be stopping in Gravenhurst on Sept. 26 at the health unit’s office, which is located at 25 Pineridge Gate, and in Huntsville on Sept. 19 and 20 at Robinson’s Independent Grocers, 131 Howland Drive.
“Oral health is key to good health and Healthy Smiles Ontario is helping children to have a better chance at having good oral health through access to preventative care and early intervention,” said Murray. “Tooth decay is preventable so the goal is to keep these children healthy and if possible free of decay or if something has started, to catch it early, treat it early.”
For more information on the clinics, to make an appointment or to find out if your family is eligible visit www.ontario.ca/healthysmiles or phone Health Connect at 1-877-721-7520.