Dental Health

Oral health or dental health is an important part of your overall health. A healthy diet, daily brushing and flossing, as well as regular visits to a dental office help keep healthy teeth, gums, tongue, lips, and inside your cheeks.

Baby's first year dental visit 

Dentists and Dental Hygienists recommend children to be seen by a dental professional by their first birthday, or six months after the first tooth erupts. 

Why should you visit a dentist by your baby's first birthday?

  • Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease; at the visit you will learn about simple prevention
  • Learn the importance of oral health and start a positive relationship with a dental professional
  • Get help to spot problems at early stages when treatment is simple and inexpensive

What can you expect from the first visit?

  • A visual check of your baby's mouth while they lay in your arms
  • A conversation on how to reduce the risk of decay for your baby
  • A simple fluoride varnish application if needed
  • A toothbrush, sticker and other supplies
  • A quick and easy visit in a friendly environment

We offer free first visits with a registered dental hygienist. To book a first year visit at one of our sites listed below:

Public Health Clinic locations

Waterloo location - 99 Regina Street South

Cambridge location - 150 Main Street 

Community Health Centre locations (Availability subject to change)

Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre - 44 Francis Street South, Kitchener

Langs Community Health Centre | The Hub - 1145 Concession Road, Cambridge

Canadian Dental Care Plan

The federal government’s launch of the new Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP) will ease financial barriers to accessing oral health care services for Canadians who:

  • have no access to dental insurance,
  • have an annual adjusted family net income of less than $90,000.00,
  • are a Canadian resident for tax purposes and,
  • have filed their tax return in the previous year.

Pre-determined co-payments for services may be required based on adjusted family net income. Applications for the Canadian Dental Care Plan will open in phases, starting with seniors, and aiming to open for all eligible Canadians by 2025.

To find out more information, including if you are eligible and when you can apply, visit Canadian Dental Care Plan or call the CDCP phone line;

  • Toll Free: 1-833-537-4342
  • TTY: 1-833-677-6262
Dental screening for children

Public Health registered dental hygienists and dental assistants provide dental screening in elementary schools in Waterloo Region. If the dental hygienist identifies that a child has a dental problem, parents will receive information about how to access dental care.

If you received a notice that a free dental screening is coming to your child’s school, you can choose to OPT OUT of the dental screening; or if your child is not in one of the listed grades to be screened, you can choose to OPT IN for the dental screening.

Please fill out the Dental Screening Options Form for either option.

Parents do not have to wait for the school dental screening.  If your child has a toothache, infection or large cavity, call 519-575-4400 ext. 5010 to arrange a free dental screening with a Registered Dental Hygienist

Healthy Smiles Ontario 

Healthy Smiles Ontario (HSO) is a free program for eligible children and youth, 17 years or younger, from low-income families. HSO provides preventive, routine and emergency dental services.

Children are automatically enrolled in HSO the program when they or their family receive:

  • Temporary care assistance
  • Assistance for children with severe disabilities
  • Ontario Works
  • Ontario Disability Support

To enroll your child in the Healthy Smiles Ontario program, choose one of the following options:

  • Apply online at Healthy Smiles Ontario
  • Call Service Ontario INFOline toll-free at 1-844-296-6306 (TTY 1-800-387-5559)
  • Call Public Health 519-575-4400 ext. 5010 (TTY 519-575-4608)

Lost Healthy Smiles Ontario Cards

Call Service Ontario at 1-844-296-6306 to have a new card issued.

Note: If your child experiences a toothache, infection or large cavity (and they are not already enrolled into Healthy Smiles Ontario), call 519-575-4400 ext. 5010 to arrange a free dental screening with a Registered Dental Hygienist at one of our screening sites. 

Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program
The Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program (OSDCP), a new publicly-funded dental care program for seniors, is now being offered in Waterloo Region. Check our Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program page.
Ontario Works

Adults and their dependent children, 18 years and older, can receive emergency care. As an Ontario Works client, you will receive a dental card with your statement each month. If you have a specific dental problem you can go to a dental care provider and have it checked. In one visit you can have an exam, limited number of x-rays and up to three teeth filled or up to four teeth removed. Wisdom teeth removal and root canal services are available with pre-approval.

For adult dependent children, contact us to have a dental card sent directly to your dental care provider.


  • You may also be eligible to receive denture care, including new dentures, repairs, relines and adjustments. These services require preapproval.
  • As an Ontario Works client you should not have to pay any cost to the care provider for covered services.
Public Health Dental Clinics (eligibility, how to apply, book an appointment)

Public Health has two dental clinics, one in Cambridge and one in Waterloo. Dentists, Registered Dental Hygienists, and Certified Dental Assistants staff both clinics.

The clinics offer dental services to children and adults who:

  • Live in Waterloo Region
  • Meet the financial eligibility requirements 


Children 17 years or younger who meet the eligibility requirements receive free basic services including checkups, preventive services (such as scaling, fluoride and sealants) and fillings. 

To determine the financial eligibility, call 519-575-4400 ext. 3086 or submit the Income Assessment form. Eligibility must be determined once a year and this form will need to be completed each time. If the application is approved you will be contacted by dental clinic staff to set up an appointment for your child(ren).

  • Bring your and your spouse's (if applicable), Notice of Assessment or proof of income, at your child's first appointment to confirm the required financial eligibility
  • If your child(ren) is/are enrolled in Healthy Smiles Ontario, you must bring their Healthy Smiles Ontario card to their dental appointments

The financial eligibility is based on the family income. Those who are eligible have a combined household taxable income that is less than the limit for the family size - see chart below.

Family Size Total Family Annual Taxable Income Total Family Monthly Income
1 $30,265 $2,522
2 $37,679 $3,140
3 $46,322 $3,860
4 $56,241 $4,687
5 $63,788 $5,316
6 $71,941 $5,995
7+ $80,095 $6,675

 Income levels established by Region of Waterloo Public Health


Adults 18 and older who do not have access to dental services through social assistance, may be eligible to receive limited services such as extractions or fillings to eliminate pain. To determine your eligibility please call 519-575-4400 ext. 3086 or submit the Adult Emergency Eligibility form.

Older adults

Adults 65 and older may be eligible for the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program. To determine your eligibility please call Community Services at 519-883-2100 (select option 1).

Resources for teachers and parents

Infection Prevention and Control

Whether offering services within one of the public health dental clinics, community health centers, school dental screenings, or other community sites, dental staff follow the most current Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) guidance from the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario, the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, and Public Health Ontario.




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