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.
I couldn't afford to go to the dentist for the first 7 years I lived in Toronto 🙃 https://t.co/OaPVV9EY5d— Grace Smith (@Gracectomy) February 12, 2021
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.
NEW REPORT: The State of Oral Health in Toronto 2022 is here.— Toronto Foundation (@TorontoFdn) February 10, 2022
Who you are, where you live and what you earn pre-determine your access to dental coverage and oral health outcomes – more consequences of inequality in Toronto. READ: https://t.co/P0eaWzt4NQ pic.twitter.com/WFtb8tGCmL
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.
If they think that's a lot they should go to a dentist in Toronto as a student! I'm lucky that I have a dental plan through work but for those don't it can be expensive. Especially when, in my opinion, it should be part of the provincial health coverage— Kelly (@Kenzia91) November 5, 2021
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.
I paid $1200 for a root canal in Toronto with my dentist. Worth every penny considering the pain I was in, but it’s unfortunate some people can’t afford to pay that kind of bill. And then I needed a crown on it 2 years later cost $900. Lol.— Mike (@mikesports1992) July 27, 2021
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.
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