7.5.8 Percentage of youth aged 15 to 24 years who have contacted a dental professional in the last 3 years, by Indigenous identity, Canada, 2012

First Nations Métis Iniut
Indigenous Identity 87.1 85.9 80.7

Note: Excludes persons living on Indian reserves or settlements.

Source: CICH graphic created with data adapted from Statistics Canada. Table 577-0003 – Aboriginal Peoples Survey, access to and use of health care services, by Aboriginal identity, age group and sex, population aged 6 years and over, Canada, provinces and territories, occasional.

Access to dental care in the community is an important aspect of community supports for children and youth.

In 2012, the majority of Indigenous youth aged 15 to 24 years had contacted a dental professional in the last 3 years.

This was the case for 87% of First Nations youth, 86% of Métis youth, and 81% of Inuit youth.

Tooth decay is a major child health issue for Indigenous children. Multiple studies have shown that Indigenous children are disproportionately burdened by dental cavities.1 Dental cavities can contribute to adverse health effects, including altered chewing, eating and sleeping patterns due to pain; potential growth restriction; speech difficulties; and poor bite.2 In addition, teeth in poor repair and decay can result in young people feeling badly about their appearance, and low self esteem.2

1National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health. (2013). Early childhood tooth decay – accessed November 14, 2018.
2Irvine, J.D., Holve, S., Krol, D., Schroth, R., & the Canadian Paediatric Society, First Nations, Inuit and Métis Health Committee. (2011). Early childhood caries in Indigenous communities: Position statement. Paediatric Child Health, 16(6), 351-7.