Just one in four Flemish youngsters go for an annual dental check up

According to figures obtained by the Flemish nationalist Federal MP Yoleen Van Camp just, 25% of Flemish youngsters pay an annual visit to the dentist for a check-up. The situation in Wallonia and Brussels is even worse with just 16% of Walloon youngster and 11% of Brussels youngsters paying an annual visit to their dental surgeon. 

Since 2009 basic dental treatment, including check-up has been free to everyone under the age of 18. Nevertheless, many youngsters don’t go to the dentist.  

Of the youngsters that do go for a check-up, half have tooth decay caused by excessive consumption of sweets and soft drinks.  

Speaking on VRT Radio 1’s Morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’, Ms Van Camp called for dental check-ups to be added to the medical examinations carried out in schools. Ms Van Camp and her party also want responsibility for dental health care to be transferred from the federal authorities to the regions. The party believes that it would be cheaper to do things in this way.      

However, this view is not shared by the Flemish socialists. The Flemish socialist federal MP Karin Jiroflée told journalist that the nationalists’ view is “Turning things on their head” and that many people stay away from the dentist for fear of the bill. The socialists favour reaching vulnerable groups with preventative dental care through local health centres.