APH Organizer Mel as the Justice Tooth!

The “Smile with Dignity” Dental Committee spent a busy long weekend Friday night (July 29th) collecting stories of people’s teeth and any barriers people had accessing dental care. They also collected signatures for the petition to add dental care to BC’s Medicare.

One of the people passing by, who was drawn by our “Smile with Dignity” tooth mascot, was an editor from the Georgia Straight. So we were included in his blog (click for link: Campaign for dental care hits the streets of Vancouver).

According to a woman Glenda, age 42, who shared her story “I have at least $2,000 dental work coming up for a root planning and my receding gumline. When I heard the price I nearly had a heart attack.” People also shared stories of pain and humiliation. Dayle, 26, said she can’t afford dental treatment and told the dental committee “Now my bottom two wisdom teeth are crowding so my teeth and jaw hurt. I usually eat on one side of my mouth.” The committee talked to several artists and musicians who were affected. Siobhan, 32, an artist, said she was trying to avoid paying for an expensive root canal by “trying to cut down on sugar and trying Chinese medicine”, while Grant, who played in a rock band and needed a crown, said “I’m afraid for people to see me so I put my mouth on the microphone. It doesn’t affect my singing. I’m afraid women will look at me and freak out.”

Our teeth are not only a vital part of our overall health, they affect the way we eat and interact with others. That’s why we call it the “Smile with Dignity” campaign. The right to access dental care is about the right to eat, smile, live and work with dignity.

Check out the stories on our blog (http://smilewithdignity.wordpress.com/)

Come out to our next meeting Thursday September 8th at 6pm at the Organizing Centre – 672 East Broadway (@ Fraser)