dentist toronto

A ton of people in Toronto avoid the dentist because they don't have insurance to pay

A new report is shedding light on some unfortunate facts about the financial state of Torontonians — and also, the state of their teeth.

Apparently, a whopping 35 per cent of residents of the city — more than one third — tend to simply skip out on going to the dentist as often as they should due to the fact that they don't have insurance through their employer to cover it and can't justify or afford the cost otherwise.

The new analysis from benefits carrier Green Shield Canada and local charity The Toronto Foundation says that seniors, recent immigrants, racialized groups, the working poor and various vulnerable populations are the most predominant among the more than 861,000 residents that don't have access to dental coverage.

The growing population of people working "precarious" jobs such as freelance gigs, temporary contract work or multiple part-time positions are also especially unlikely to have benefits for things like dental care and prescriptions.

The data shows that 50 per cent of those who make less than $40,000 per year don't have coverage, while 57 per cent who are self-employed and 42 per cent who do part-time work face the same problem.

Toronto is among the worst regions assessed for insurance coverage, while Canada as a whole "has much lower public spending on dental care than other OECD countries while Ontario has the lowest public oral health spending across provinces," the report notes.

This is all while the price of dental services has skyrocketed in recent years at approximately double the rate of usual inflation.

Along with the hundreds of thousands who don't have insurance, 606,000 residents of the city tend to avoid going to the dentist due to cost, while more than 400,000 claimed they only go to the dentist in an emergency or never, and 257,000 are living with untreated persistent pain in their mouths.

As the report notes, oral issues are associated with heart disease, depression and other health issues, including worse COVID outcomes.

The pandemic has also led to a staggering four-year backlog for those seeking out cheaper, low-barrier services to maintain their dental health, meaning even more people are going without proper oral care lately.

Lead photo by

Android Dave/Google

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