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National dental plan must address major access and equity issues, disability advocates say

In the three years since Joanne Shimakawa last had a dental checkup, her multiple sclerosis had progressed to the point where she’d become increasingly prone to falling and no longer felt safe transferring to a dentist’s chair.

So she recently began searching for someone in her Toronto neighbourhood who could treat her in her wheelchair.

“I basically took every dentist in the west end and called them one after another,” Shimakawa told CBC News. “I couldn’t find anybody.”

In the end, there was just one dentist whose office didn’t have stairs or other obstacles and who said treatment in the wheelchair wouldn’t be a problem.

“When something like that happens … it’s depressing,” Shimakawa said.

As Canada prepares this year to unveil a national dental plan that will include oral health care for people with disabilities — as well as low-income earners, seniors and children — advocates are pleading with the government to pay attention to the stories of people like Shimakawa.

Not only does the high cost of dental care and limited coverage through provincial benefits make regular treatment unattainable for a disproportionate number of disabled people, but many of these patients say they also struggle to find dentists who are willing and able to care for them.

‘Gaps’ in access to oral health care

This spring, the Canadian Society for Disability and Oral Health (CSDH) made a submission to Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos that urges him to “ignore the myth that Canada’s current dental system serves most Canadians well.”

It points out several issues, including a lack of mandatory disability-specific training for dental professionals; physical accessibility barriers in clinics; fee structures for dentists that don’t take into account the extra time necessary to treat someone with complex needs; and long wait lists for people who require general anesthesia

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5 Reasons Why You Should Add Vitamin D-Rich Foods In Your Regular Diet Plan

VITAMIN D is an essential nutrient that is necessary for the growth and development of bones and teeth. It is a fat-soluble vitamin in the family of compounds that includes vitamins D1, D2 and D3. The body produces vitamin D when it is directly exposed to sunlight, the natural source of vitamin D. Apart from this, the body can attain the daily requirements of this nutrient by adding healthy foods to its diet that are an abundant source of vitamin D.

Also referred to as ‘calciferol’, vitamin D is known for its bone-building and strengthening powers. It also helps in regulating the calcium and phosphorus levels in the body and maintaining proper bone structure. Here are some vital reasons why you should add vitamin D-rich foods to your regular diet regime.

Health Benefits Of Including Vitamin D In Your Diet

1. Strengthens Bones

Vitamin D sufficiency can help in reducing the risk of infections and keeps diseases at bay. Several studies claim that low vitamin D levels in the body lead to increased risks of heart diseases including hypertension, heart failure, and stroke.

2. Reduce Inflammation

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps in building immunity. It supports the immune system by fighting harmful bacteria and viruses. A study in a 2017 Journal of Osteopathic Medicine found that high latitudes and winter season are risk factors for low vitamin D, as well as influenza, and other respiratory illness and adverse outcomes.

3. Supports Oral Health

From strengthening bones to the immune system, adequate levels of vitamin D in the body promote better oral health. A 2020 review in Nutrients stated that because vitamin D helps our body absorb calcium, it may lower the risk of tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.

4. May Prevent Diabetes

Vitamin sufficiency in

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