Canadian Dental Hygienists Association

Canadian Dental Hygienists Association

June 07, 2007 14:46 ET

Canadian Dental Hygienists Association Says Public Wants Improved Access to Oral Health Services

Poll Reveals New Public Perception of Dental Hygienists

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 7, 2007) - Responses to a recent national survey conducted by the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association demonstrates public support for the new relationship developing between dental hygienists and the public. This relationship meets the public's needs better, as it gives the public improved access to oral health services and improved choice among providers and venues in which care is provided.

Then...

In the past dental hygiene services were delivered only in a dental office because of outdated regulatory barriers.

- That meant that in a community where there were no dentists, there were no practising dental hygienists.

- That meant that if a dentist did not have a dental practice in a long-term care facility, residents had no services on site and they had to travel to a dental office.

- That meant that if your health kept you home-bound, you would have difficulty getting dental hygiene services in your home.

Now...

Access

In three provinces in Canada, Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario, there is dental hygiene legislation that allows dental hygienists to provide their services without the necessity of supervision or other controls by dentists or other health care practitioners. Results of the national CDHA survey show that not only in these three provinces, but across Canada as well, the public supports a new relationship with dental hygienists. The public wants to receive services when they need them and where they need them.

- 85% of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they would visit a dental hygienist in an independent practice, because dental hygiene care is important to keep your mouth healthy.

- 79% of survey respondents indicated that a dental hygiene clinic in a community health centre would meet their needs.

- 52% of survey respondents indicated that a mobile dental hygiene clinic, which can travel to locations such as your home or your long-term care facility, would meet their needs.

Finances

CDHA's survey results show that many individuals cannot access oral health services due to financial reasons. As more dental insurance providers recognize dental hygienists as primary health care providers in their own right, access to services will improve. Dental hygienists' emphasis on prevention also means lower costs down the road, as they will help you avoid costly dental work.

- One in 5 survey respondents are not able to access oral health services as the cost is too high.

- 88% of the survey respondents think that services performed by dental hygienists in locations other than dentists' offices should be covered by dental insurance.

Oral Health

- Approximately 50% of the population may have gingivitis (gum disease).

- Dental decay rates for Aboriginal children are 3 to 5 times higher than for non-Aboriginal children.

- Periodontal disease (infection of the gum, ligament and bone) may be connected with diabetes, lung disease, heart disease and pre-term low birth weight babies.

Imagine...

- that oral disease prevention was a priority.

- that children did not experience the pain of cavities, because their dental hygienists had taught them about prevention.

- that the link between oral health and general health was clearly understood.

- that dental hygienists could practise in a range of venues in all areas in Canada.

To learn more about the dental hygiene profession and oral health, visit www.preventionprofessionals.ca

Contact Information

  • Canadian Dental Hygienists Association
    Judy Lux, BA, MSW
    Health Policy Communications Specialist
    613-224-5515, ext. 123
    jal@cdha.ca