Politicians have called for more ‘school dentists’ to ensure all social groups have good dental care, especially after the coronavirus pandemic.
It is recommended that under-18s see a dentist every six months to check for tooth decay, gum problems and whether a brace is needed. At least one visit a year is covered by basic health insurance, and more if recommended.
Even before the pandemic, dentists’ association the KNMT said hundreds of thousands of Dutch children do not go to the dentist at all. The latest Dutch statistics office CBS figures show that at least 93% of children from ages 4 to 17 visited a dentist in 2021, and typically three or four times.
In the past, dentists would visit children at school in a bus, and some politicians believe that this service should be rolled out again to ensure all children have good oral health, reports the NOS Jeugdjournaal. The broadcaster suggested that dental health may have worsened during the pandemic, when children had periods of home school, run by their parents.
When once there were 200 dentist buses, there are now only a few, reports the news programme for children.
A motion to increase care from government parties D66 and the CDA was accepted by the lower house this week.
Fonda Sahla, D66 minister responsible for early education and behind the motion, said in a D66 news update that children growing up in poorer households were disadvantaged if they missed out on dental care.
‘Many children have never or hardly been to the dentist in their youth,’ she wrote, ‘and this especially affects children who grow up in poorer neighbourhoods. This is unacceptable. D66 wants to stop children growing up with poor oral health that – later in life – will cause them a lot of pain, discomfort and expense.’
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