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Dalhousie University dental student pushes for universal dental care program

Brandon Doucet says the burden of lack of proper dental care falls disproportionately on poor and working class people

We know about universal health care, we've heard about rumblings of a national pharmacare program, but what about dental care?

Fourth year Dalhousie University dental student Brandon Doucet says we need universal dental care here in Canada.

Canada's current system leaves approximately 6 million people a year who cannot afford to see a dentist, the result often being chronic dental pain which can make a person's life miserable, according to Doucet.

He begins practicing in June, adding the mouth plays a key role in our overall health.

"For some reason we've decided that we're going to exclude the mouth from the rest of the body, but what many people know is that the mouth is intimately related with the rest of the body in a very integral part as far as living a quality life," says Doucet.

Doucet says just over six per cent of government spending for dental goes to targeted public programs, which isn't enough to meet the needs of the most vulnerable segments of the population.

"It doesn't end up meeting the needs of the population, so it's something that it looks really good on paper, but when you actually go speak with people in those communities, the care that they receive is not in alignment with what people think they receive," says Doucet.

Doucet tells NEWS 95.7 the burden of lack of dental care is disproportionately felt by poor and working class people.

"You could imagine [for] those people how difficult it is if you're missing some front teeth it is to maybe try to go get a good paying job," says Doucet. "You know it's very much inter related to the cycle of poverty for people, and is a very hard cycle to break out of."

He adds under a universal dental plan procedures like check ups, x-rays, cleanings, fillings and extractions would be considered medically necessary.


About the Author: Matt Brand

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