Vulnerable youngsters in Antwerp get free dental check-ups
As of this summer, vulnerable young people in the city of Antwerp can get a free dental checkup as part of a preventive dental government project.
Both the Flemish Institute for Oral Health and De Boskes dental practice are organising free screenings for young people in Antwerp-Kiel, Hoboken and Wilrijk. The services will also be offered at locations frequented by many young people, in an effort to detect dental and oral problems more quickly.
"We see that many vulnerable families rarely or never go to the dentist. We want to do something about that, because good oral and dental hygiene can prevent other health problems," said city councillor Els van Doesburg of Public Health.
Young people who need treatment after the screening get it at the De Boskes dental clinic, while families get extra help in finding a regular dentist in the area.
The main goal of the initiative is to bring dental care even closer to the people. There are many barriers that prevent people from difficult backgrounds from going to the dentist, but financial problems are by far the biggest challenge.
Therefore, dentists in the region are encouraged to include them in their long-term client portfolio and work with the third-party payer scheme. As part of the service, newly trained oral health coaches will also educate local residents on the importance of good oral health and even accompany them to the dentist.
The Flemish Institute of Oral Health, together with the Antwerp-South Primary Care District and the Antwerp branch of the Association of Flemish Dentists, has set up a number of initiatives to draw attention to good oral health. The project runs until the end of 2023 and can be extended and expanded if the evaluation is positive.
© BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK