Antwerp offers free dental screening to vulnerable young people

Antwerp offers free dental screening to vulnerable young people
Young vulnerable people will receive free dental check-ups. Credit: Belga/ ANTHONY DEHEZ

Starting this summer, vulnerable young people living in the City of Antwerp will receive free dental screenings as part of a preventive dental care project launched by the authorities.

Both the Flemish Institute for Oral Health and the De Boskes dental practice are organising free screenings for young people living in Antwerp-Kiel, Hoboken and Wilrijk. The services will also be offered at locations frequented by young people, in a bid to discover dental and oral problems more quickly.

"We see that many vulnerable families rarely or never make it to the dentist. We want to do something about this, because good oral hygiene and dental care can prevent other health problems," city councillor for Health, Els van Doesburg, said.

Young people who need treatment after the screening receive it at the De Boskes dental clinic, while families will receive extra help in finding a regular dentist in the neighbourhood.

Financial barriers

The main focus 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 for a dental chek-up, but financial woes by far form the biggest challenge.

This is why dentists in the region are being encouraged to include them in their client portfolio on a long-term basis and to work with the Third-Party Payer scheme.

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As part of the service, newly trained oral care coaches will also inform neighbourhood residents about the importance of good oral hygiene and will even accompany them to the dentist.

The Flemish Institute for Oral Health, alongside the Antwerp-Zuid Primary Care Area and the Antwerp branch of the Association of Flemish Dentists have set up a number of initiatives to draw attention to good oral hygiene.

The project will run until the end of 2023, and may be extended and expanded if the evaluation is positive.

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