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Healthy Smiles Ontario Program

The information included below has been shared by the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit Oral Health Team: 

We would like to take the opportunity to discuss oral health for children and/or youth 17 and under.  

Have you heard of the Healthy Smiles Ontario (HSO) program?  

  • HSO is a government funded dental program that provides free preventive, routine, and emergency dental services for eligible children and youth 17 years old and under. HSO covers regular visits to a licensed dental care provider, such as a dentist or dental hygienist, to establish and maintain good oral health. It covers a full range of dental services including exams, fillings, x-rays, scaling, urgent or emergency oral health issues and more.  

How does a child enroll or apply in the HSO program? 

There are 2 ways to qualify: 

  • The core stream is based on family net income and the number of children in the household 17 and under. Parents can apply online or pick up an application at one of our Health Unit offices: Health Unit Locations 
  • The second is the emergency and essential stream based on dental criteria such as pain, infection, trauma or a visible cavity. It also involves a declaration that the household would suffer financial hardship if they were required to pay for the required dental treatment. To enroll, a youth or parent can call the Health Unit (1-800-660-5856 x 2315) to set up a screening. A screening is a look in the mouth with a mirror and flashlight to assess for the dental criteria. If parents/guardians cannot take time off work, the Health Unit could pre-arrange to come do the screening at the school (after mutually coordinating with both the school and with parent/guardian written consent). 

NEW! Canada Dental Benefit

  • The interim Canada Dental Benefit is intended to help lower dental costs for eligible families earning less than $90,000 per year. Parents and guardians can apply if the child receiving dental care is under 12 years old and does not have access to a private dental insurance plan. 
  • Depending on your adjusted family net income, a tax-free payment of $260, $390, or $650 is available for each eligible child. Applications are now open as of December 1st, 2022. Applicants must have filed the previous year’s tax return and be in receipt of the Canada Child Benefit for each eligible child in their care.  
  • This program is a federal program administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and not administered by the LGL Health Unit. For more information please visit Canada.ca/dental or call 1-800-715-8836.  

Good oral health (both baby and adult teeth) is important to the overall health of children and youth. Maintaining good oral hygiene practices at home is essential; brushing two times daily for two minutes, flossing once a day, drinking water, eating healthy, avoid smoking, smokeless tobacco and vaping and seeing a dental professional regularly. Generally speaking, depending on each individual’s needs, the recommendation will be to have a dental exam anywhere from every 3-12 months.   

Yours Truly,  

The Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit Oral Health Team