File photo courtest of © Can Stock Photo / monkeybusiness

Smile, there’s a new program in town

Four new people are being hired at the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit to run the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program.

The province announced the new preventive and restorative services in April to increase access for low income seniors. The idea is to prevent certain chronic diseases caused by poor oral health, and reduce unnecessary trips to the hospital.

It’s one of the few programs spared by the Ontario government as the province will continue to fund it 100 per cent and has promised Chatham-Kent up $581,200 to run it.

The Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program will be rolled out in two stages. Phase one consists of promotion and enrolment and will start this fall. Dental suites will be available early next year during phase two.

The Ministry of Health estimates at least two thirds of low income seniors in Ontario don’t have access to dental insurance and have a lower quality of life. In Chatham-Kent, between 2,700 and 4,500 seniors are eligible for the program and waitlists are expected.