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Dental Care 2018 Shows Canada Among Leaders in Dental Care Utilization

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Statistics Canada recently released information about how Canadians are caring for their teeth and oral health. Data regarding oral health habits, insurance coverage, and dentist visits were sourced from the 2018 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) and shared with the public in a Health Fact Sheet: Dental Care 2018

The fact sheet highlights an important message: oral health plays a significant role in overall health.

The summary also echoes the Canadian Dental Association’s (CDA) recommendation that Canadians:

  • Brush at least twice each day.
  • Floss once each day.
  • Visit the dentist every six months for routine and preventative care.

Look for our CDA Essentials Magazine article on the Statistics Canada Dental Care 2018 report, landing on your desk the week of November 4th, 2019.

Canada is a leader among OECD countries in dental care utilization, even amongst those that have more publicly funded dental health care, as these statistics demonstrate:

  • Australia: 47% visited a dentist or dental professional within the last year (2015).
  • US: 35.4% of adults (age 19-64) visited a GP dentist within the last year (2015) and 66.2% of dentate adults (age 30 and over) visited a dentist within the last year (2011-2014). 5
  • UK: 51% of adults visited a dentist in the NHS within the last two years (2017).
  • France: 63.7% of people between 15 and 75 visited a dentist within the last year (2014).

The Canadian mixed private-public dental health care system that has been built over many decades is working very well. There is opportunity and an ethical obligation to improve access for underserved vulnerable groups, which is an ongoing goal for both government and dental health professionals. But an attempt to transform the dental health care system into a fully public universal system may have negative consequences for millions of Canadians who are currently well-served.  Further analysis on this data (when available) is needed to understand differences and trends in annual dental care use by various population segments.

  • Just over one-third (37%) of Canadians brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day.
  • In the past year, most Canadians have seen a dental professional (74%); however, 22% avoided going at least once because of cost.
  • Almost two-thirds of Canadians (64%) have dental insurance to cover all or part of their expenses. 
  • Those without insurance were about three times as likely as those with insurance to avoid seeing a dental professional because of cost (39% versus 13%).
  • 74.7% of Canadians reported that they saw a dental professional in the past year.
  • 72.1%of males reported visiting a dental professional in the past 12 months compared to females (77.1%).
  • Among both males and females, those aged 12 to 17 were the most likely to report a recent visit to a dental professional (91.5% of males, 92.3% of females).
  • The percentage of females reporting a recent dental visit was lowest among those aged 65 and older (68.8%), while for males the percentage was lowest among those aged 18 to 34 (65.9%) and those aged 65 and older (66.6%)
  • Canadians have to rely on private insurance, job-based insurance plans, government programs, or pay out of pocket to visit a dental health professional.
  • In 2018, 22.4% of Canadians (roughly 6.8 million people) avoided visiting a dental professional due to cost.
  • Females (24.1%) were more likely than males (20.6%) to report cost as a barrier.
  • Canadians aged 18 to 34 (28.3%) were the age group most likely to report cost as a barrier to dental care.
  • In 2018, 64.6% of Canadians reported they had dental insurance that covered all or part of their expenses.
  • Canadians with dental insurance were more likely to report visiting a dental professional in the past 12 months (82.5%) compared to those without insurance (60.5%).
  • Those with insurance were less likely to avoid going to a dental professional due to cost (13.7%) than those who did not have coverage (39.1%).
  • Canadians living in households with lower income were less likely to go to a dental professional, both for those with insurance and for those without. Those who both had dental insurance and lived in households in the highest income quintile were the most likely to have a dental visit (88.5%). Canadians without insurance and in the lowest income quintile were the least likely to see a dental professional in the past year (49.6%).

We always look forward to hearing your thoughts and receiving your questions and/or suggestions about this post and other topics. Leave a comment in the box below, send us your feedback by email, or call us at 1-855-716-2747.
Until next time!

CDA Oasis Team

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