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Oral Health Month

April 3, 2023

This year we are highlighting Oral Health in Public Health. Ontario has 34 Public Health Units , which serve different geographic areas.  Each public health unit has dental programs and services that support the members of their communities. In Leeds, Grenville and Lanark, our health unit’s dental team consists of Registered Dental Hygienists, Level ll Intra-Oral Dental Assistants and Administrative Assistants.

Public health plays an important role in supporting the health of your community. Oral health affects our overall health, throughout our life. Public health messages are geared to the community as a whole, to promote and sustain oral health. We provide oral health information and offer programs to compliment and support routine care at a dental office.

One of our main roles is to provide support and navigation for two provincially funded dental programs, the Healthy Smiles Ontario (HSO) program and the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program (OSDCP). The Healthy Smiles Ontario program (HSO) is a free dental program for eligible children and youth, 17 years and under. The program can cover dental needs like exams, x-rays, cleanings, fillings and urgent care. The Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program is a free dental program for eligible seniors, 65 years and older. The program can cover dental needs like exams, x-rays, cleanings, fillings, urgent care, and possibly dentures (additional fee). More information on eligibility criteria and how to apply can be found at healthunit.org or by calling 1-800-660-5853, ext. 2315.

Our dental team also provides school and community based programs and services to support the oral health of children and their families. The dental team provides dental screening in elementary schools for approximately 4500-5000 students per year. In other community locations, we provide oral health education and preventive services (cleanings, fluoride, and sealants) for eligible children 0-17. For adults, we administer the Emergency Adult Dental Treatment Fund (made possible by the United Way of Leeds and Grenville). Public health is also responsible for monitoring fluoride levels in community water systems.

To support our clients’ overall health, the health unit’s dental team partners with other healthcare professionals at the health unit, and in the community, to refer our clients to other programs that may address both dental and other healthcare needs. Like the staff at your dental office, we want to remind everyone that oral health affects our overall health. Here are some tips on what you can focus on this month to keep your teeth and gums healthy:

  • Brush 2 x daily for 2 minutes
  • Clean between teeth (i.e., floss) 1 x daily
  • Use fluoridated toothpaste (see recommended guidelines on our website)
  • Drink water and eat a variety of nutritious foods
  • Avoid smoking, smokeless tobacco and vaping
  • Consult a dental professional regularly

For more information: