Oral health is important for overall health but many Perth County adults have a hard time getting dental care. Just over half of residents have insurance for dental expenses – a lower proportion than Ontario as a whole. People without any form of coverage must pay out-of-pocket for dental care. This can create a big financial burden and prevent people from going to a dental professional.

In the fall of 2018, the Health Unit collected stories from Perth County adults about the challenges they face with getting dental care, and how this affects their lives. We hope to increase understanding of these challenges in the community. Below are the stories we received.

Angelina's Story
"When I breathe in or I go out in the cold, it feels like needles in my teeth."
Anonymous' Story
"We are not poor enough to be helped by social services, and we are not wealthy enough to cover the dentist bills up front."
Anonymous' Story Three
“I'm in constant pain and my self-esteem is shot.”
Anonymous' Story Three
"I want people to know how hard it is."
Candice's Story
"I struggle with social anxiety, and knowing that my teeth are not in their best condition makes that an even more prominent struggle in my life."
Carolyn's Story
"I'm still using the original 'temporary' dentures after more than 10 years - they're not meant to last that long."
Chuck's Story
“It does affect my overall health as I am unable to chew healthy food such as many fruits and vegetables, and meat for protein.”
Elizabeth's Story
“I’m a senior and have kind of neglected myself because of helping others.”
Fred's Story
"My sister and brother-in-law were generous enough to cover the $5000 cost of getting an upper and lower bridge for the affected teeth, otherwise I'd be walking around with a toothless smile or more likely... no smile at all."
James' Story
"I have to put (dental costs) on a personal line of credit because we just don't have that kind of money."
Jay's Story
"I can't afford dental care while on Ontario Works because it will literally take food from my son's mouth."
Joanna's Story
"My teeth are rotten so they all have to come out."
John's Story
"Both my wife and I need repairs to our teeth, but we can't afford the thousands of dollars it would cost to have the work done."
Joyce's Story
"I once lost out on a new job... that was very hurtful."
Laurie's Story
"I don't smile normally anymore."
Linda's Story
"People think you don't care about your teeth and don't look after them.
Paul's Story
"I carry around Anbesol all the time now!"
Sarah's Story
"I feel overwhelmed knowing that I cannot afford to keep my teeth as healthy as they could be."
Shona's Story
"(When) I had no front teeth, people thought I was mad at them or didn't want to talk to them."
Stephen's Story
"I work full-time but I don't have any dental benefits."
Sue's Story
"Having dental problems is probably the most degrading thing I have ever been through."