Help on accessing alternative formats, such as Portable Document Format (PDF), Microsoft Word and PowerPoint (PPT) files, can be obtained in the alternate format help section.
The Office of the Chief Dental Officer (OCDO) is involved in the following projects:
The results from the oral health component of the CHMS are now available. The Oral Health Statistics 2007- 2009 factsheet, presents an overview of the results.
More detailed results can be obtained from writing the Office of the Chief Dental Officer or by visiting the Federal Provincial Territorial Dental Working Group Website.
The first cycle of the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) collected key information about the health of Canadians in two phases:
1. The first phase collected information through a household questionnaire focusing on:
The portion of the household questionnaire related to oral health included questions on the general health of the mouth, the comfort or avoidance with eating certain types of foods, the presence of any pain in the mouth, oral health habits (including brushing, flossing and visits to a dental professional), and also questions on insurance and costs associated with visiting a dental professional. To view the questions related to oral heath, access the CHMS household questionnaire (PDF Version - 1,334 K) and proceed to page 72.
2. The second phase collected direct measurements, in a clinical setting, including:
The oral health component of the clinical questionnaire consisted of questions that helped to guide the oral health examination including, a count of teeth, an assessment of the gums, recording the presence of gingivitis, and of any debris or calculus on the teeth. The clinical assessment also included an examination of each tooth (e.g., whether a tooth is decayed, missing, filled and/or treated), a count of the number of silver fillings and whether there was any damage done to the teeth. To view these questions, access the CHMS Clinic Questionnaire (PDF Version - 1,204 K) and proceed to page 63.
For further information, please contact the Office of the Chief Dental Officer.
Order a copy
The Office of the Chief Dental Officer has worked with First Nations and Inuit organizations to conduct a national oral health survey in First Nation and Inuit communities. The design of the survey included questions from the oral health module of the Canadian Health Measures Survey to allow for comparisons to the national picture, plus additional questions that are specific to the needs of a First Nation and Inuit population.
The OCDO is planning a study to assess the oral health status of the homeless in Toronto. The study is currently being planned, in consultation with the Toronto Oral Health coalition. Partners on the project include the University of Toronto (U of T) and George Brown College. The oral health questions and examination in the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) will be used to provide comparable data to the national population data.
The OCDO is supporting researchers from Dalhousie University with a study to assess the oral health status of adults aged 45 years and older in Nova Scotia. The survey is cross-sectional and includes a qualitative and a clinical component.
The Federal-Provincial-Territorial Dental Working Group is a forum of oral health professionals consisting of representatives from each of the provinces and territories. This working group's efforts are aimed at facilitating exchanges of information and expertise, while respecting each partner's jurisdictional responsibility for such things as delivery of health services and policy development or strategy development.
The working group has one face to face meeting per year and has at least two teleconferences per year. The Office of the Chief Dental Officer provides the Secretariat for this committee.
The FPTDWG is now connected to the Public Health Network through the agenda of the Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention and Control Expert Group (CDIPCEG).
The FDCAC is a committee of oral health professionals who provide advice to the Office of the Chief Dental Officer and to the six Federal Departments that directly provide dental case services to clients. The advice the committee provides to the Chief Dental Officer and to each of the federal departments is unbiased, based on current science in the dental field and takes the oral health needs of the federal clients of a dental program into consideration.
The Committee may have up to four scheduled meetings each year, and may be required to meet for an additional meeting depending upon the needs of the federal departments. The Secretariat for this committee is provided by the Office of the Chief Dental Officer.
The Children's Oral Health Initiative (COHI) was developed by First Nations and Inuit Health Branch's (FNIHB) Dental Division as a means to address the disparity between the oral health of First Nations and Inuit and that of the mainstream Canadian population. The Office of the Chief Dental Officer (OCDO) is providing consultation services to FNIHB Dental Division with the implementation of this initiative.
The Office of the Chief Dental Officer (OCDO) continues to work with the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program to reduce the administrative requirements with the processing of dental benefits. This will improve program use by dental providers, and will ultimately improve the client population's access to dental providers.
This report outlined and described the historical development of dental care programs in Canada. The original report, released in 1983, has not been updated in the last 20 years and provided the last indication of what public dental care programs exist in Canada. The Office of the Chief Dental Officer (OCDO) will undertake an environmental scan of the dental public health activities now underway in Canada and will update the report with current information.
For more information visit the Canadian Association of Public Health Dentistry
Governments contribute about 6% of the total oral health expenditures in Canada. This contribution comes from either federal, provincial, territorial, or municipal agencies to provide oral health services to specific populations.
The following tables describe these expenditures across Canadian jurisdictions. The column "Targeted dental public health expenditures" describes the spending by public health agencies on oral health promotion and education initiatives, or for direct delivery treatment programs aimed at at-risk populations (e.g., low-income children, long-term care residents).
The column "Targeted treatment expenditures for the socially marginalized" describes the spending by social services agencies, and is usually targeted to low-income populations receiving social funding (e.g., social assistance recipients, disability assistance recipients). This care is usually indirect, meaning that even though it is paid for by governments, it is delivered in the community through private practitioners.
"Canada Health Act expenditures" is the spending done by health ministries, usually for surgical-dental services that require hospitalization, such as for congenital anomalies (conditions requiring correction at the time of birth such as cleft lip), or serious trauma.
|Targeted dental public health expenditures ($)||Targeted treatment expenditures for the socially marginalised ($)||Canada Health Act expenditures ($)||Total publicly financed dental care expenditures ($)|
Table 1 footnotes
|Alberta||6,000,000Table 1 footnote a||40,000,000Table 1 footnote a||3,276,000||49,276,000|
|Saskatchewan||1,200,000Table 1 footnote a||7,247,000||1,511,000||9,958,000|
|Manitoba||1,800,000Table 1 footnote a||4,300,000||985,000||7,085,000|
|Ontario||33,000,000Table 1 footnote a||65,500,000Table 1 footnote a||14,230,000||112,730,000|
|Nova Scotia||1,000,000||9,220,000Table 1 footnote a||1,064,000||11,284,000|
|Prince Edward Island||2,389,000||533,000||91,000||3,013,000|
|Yukon||375,000||221,000Table 1 footnote a||25,000||621,000|
|Federal organisation||Expenditures ($)|
|Department of National Defence||27,000,000|
|Veterans Affairs Canada||18,000,000|
|Royal Canadian Mounted Police||8,888,000|
|Correctional Services Canada||2,800,000|
|Citizenship and Immigration Canada||999,000|
A global consultation on fluoride and oral health was held in Geneva on 17-19 November 2006. The consultation was jointly organized by the World Dental Federation, International Association for Dental Research (IADR), and the World Health Organization (WHO) to discuss development of effective legislation, necessary directives and programs to ensure access to fluoride for dental health in all countries. To review a press release about the results of the consultation in either English or French, consult the World Dental Federation Web site.
For more information on Health Canada's Fluoride policies, visit the "It's Your Health" article on Fluoride and Human Health
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recognized water fluoridation as one of the ten great public health achievements of the twentieth century. In Canada, provincial and territorial governments are responsible for the safety of drinking water. The fluoridation of drinking water supplies is a decision that is made by each municipality, in collaboration with the appropriate provincial or territorial authority. The Office of the Chief Dental Officer (OCDO) has completed a second scan of the areas in Canada where the water is fluoridated. This revised information was collected from Provincial or Territorial Environment Ministries and then verified by the Dental Directors of each province and territory in 2007. Between 2005 and 2007, there was an increase from 42.6% to 45.1% of the number of people who had access to fluoridated water in Canada.
In light of ongoing news features, Canadians may be wondering if fluoride is, in fact, safe for use in our water supply and in dental hygiene products, such as toothpaste.
An expert panel, commissioned by Health Canada to review the scientific studies available on fluoride and its possible effects on health, made a number of recommendations to Health Canada, including:
This Findings and Recommendations of the Fluoride Expert Panel (January 2007) report was submitted to the federal government in January of 2007, and made public in June, 2008 on Health Canada's Web site.
As the Chief Dental Officer for Canada, I would like to highlight some of the many benefits of water fluoridation.
Water fluoridation is the process of adjusting the level of fluoride in the water to provide dental health benefits. Many governments and health organizations, including Health Canada, the Canadian Public Health Association, the Canadian Dental Association, the Canadian Medical Association and the World Health Organization endorse the fluoridation of drinking water to prevent tooth decay. Community water fluoridation has been identified by U.S. Centers for Disease Control as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.
Canada has one of the best systems in the world to ensure water quality. Health Canada supports water fluoridation as a public health measure to prevent dental decay. Dental disease is the number one chronic disease among children and adolescents in North America; fluoridation can therefore be an important public health measure.
An expert panel was formed to provide Health Canada with advice and recommendations on the current state of relevant science with respect to the fluoridation of water. The report from the panel reinforces Health Canada's position that water fluoridation is important from a public health perspective and that our position on water fluoridation is sound. The report's recommendations are based on the latest science.
In undertaking the study, we consulted with a number of experts including scientists from the Universities of British Columbia, Toronto, Iowa; scientists from many areas of Health Canada; and also received input from the Canadian Dental Association, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and public health experts from Canada and the U.S.
The safety and efficacy of water fluoridation has been frequently studied and continues to be supported by current science. Canadian and international studies agree that water that was fluoridated at optimum levels does not cause adverse health effects. For example, an adult male would need to consume at least 15,000 litres of water that is fluoridated at optimum levels continuously in one sitting to get an acute toxic (lethal) dose of fluoride.
There is also no evidence to suggest that children should avoid drinking fluoridated water at the accepted levels in Canadian drinking water supplies.
The big advantage of water fluoridation is that it benefits all residents in a community, regardless of age, socioeconomic status, education, or employment. Health Canada continues to support water fluoridation as a safe, cost effective public health measure, and encourages Canadians to review respected and credible sources of information to reach their own conclusions about water fluoridation.
The Chief Dental Officers from countries involved with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) have jointly developed an Oral Health Strategy to improve the general health in the Americas through critical advancements in oral health through 2005-2015. Canada's Chief Dental Officer was appointed a member of the four country advisory group that worked on the development of the strategy.
Canada's participation in the initial drafting of the document was done with Chile, Mexico, Barbados, and PAHO representatives from Washington. The document went to all member countries for their input and comments and was further discussed at the PAHO Chief Dental Officers meeting in Montreal at the FDI in 2005. A final review of the strategic plan occurred at the 138th session of the PAHO Executive Committee in June 2006 for ratification and approval to go to the Directing Council in September 2006.
At a Directing Council meeting in September 2006, a resolution ( Resolution CD 47.R12 (PDF Version - 21 K)) to approve the Oral Health Strategy was passed.
The resolution emphasized ensuring a basic level of access to oral health care, encouraging effective interventions such as fluoridation programs and establishing public policies in oral health
The Chief Dental Officer of Canada is the Chair of the International Chief Dental Officers (CDO) Public Health Section of World Dental Federation. This role involves communicating with about 194 chief dental officers from about 160 countries.
The dental public health workforce is a key and necessary component of Canada's public health care system, often meeting the needs of those Canadians that access dental care through public financing. In an effort to learn more about their numbers and work environments, the Public Health Agency of Canada, in conjunction with the Office of the Chief Dental Officer, recently commissioned a scan of dental public health human resources across the country. Below is a summary table from this work, showing, in full-time equivalents, the number of dental public health specialists, and those dental health professionals, currently working within Canada's public health care system. This information was collected from members of the Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Dental Directors and consultants Working Group, and from provincial, territorial, municipal, and federal health jurisdictions.
|Dental Public Health Specialist||Dentists in Community Practice||Dental Therapists||Dental Hygienists||Dental Assistants||Other|