As I was lounging in the dental chair today, being treated to the most modern and impressive dental treatment, it occurred to me that thousands of people around the world never have this essential care. I won't speak here about the shocking bill I will have to pay - so much essential health care is not covered by Canadian Medicare - but, fortunately, I can get the treatments I need.
I follow news reports around the globe and documentaries about many countries, and I am always struck by the awful condition of the teeth of so many people in third world countries and even in hill billy America. Poverty doesn't seem to stop people from smoking tobacco, leaving them with filthy teeth. Rotting, broken teeth, stinking breath, are more than unsightly, even disgusting, they are also the source of serious illness resulting from malnutrition and infection.
I am troubled by what I see. Every human being - even every animal - should be able to receive basic medical care, including eye and dental care. That would be fair. That would be kind. That would be economically beneficial. That would be merciful. That would be Justice.
A man with a toothache is an angry man.
Put a damper on war. Provide dental care for everyone.
Quebecers have the least healthy teeth in Canada, say experts who call the situation "alarming" and comparable to some Third World countries.
At the end of 2014, one quarter of Quebecers had no teeth and 58% wore dentures, according to Quebec government statistics consulted by QMI Agency.
The numbers are even more troubling among Quebecers aged 65 and over. Their oral health is twice as bad as seniors elsewhere in Canada, data shows.
"It seems that the oral health of elderly people is lagging," says a report by the provincial statistics agency. "Governments, citizens and researchers are giving it little attention."
The Quebec Order of Dentists and researchers consulted by QMI expressed concerns about the data.
Dr. Christian Caron, assistant dean of dentistry at Laval University in Quebec City, "the situation among infirm people is a Third World situation that is unacceptable " in Canada."
He has personally seen "horror" cases in the dentists' chair, and as director of a specialized training program in geriatric dentistry.
Caron says Quebecers must "take charge and take concrete steps to address it."
"One has to consider the link between oral health and overall health," he said, stressing that mouth diseases have serious consequences.
"It's now possible to link oral health to heart problems and diabetes control problems. The mouth is part of the body."
He was concerned that the aging population in Quebec would make matters worse.
More elderly people means more people with Alzheimer's disease and dementia, Caron said, adding that such people can't take care of their teeth.