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Press release

Access to dental care and dental health in Italy

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The access to dental care has declined throughout the economic crisis years. The percentage of population who visited a dentist or orthodontist in the last twelve months decreased from 39.3% in 2005 to 37.9% in 2013. In contrast, the percentage of people who visited a dentist in a longer period of time, i.e. from 1 to 3 years, has increased from 24.0% to 29.2%.

The number of treatments provided has decreased: the percentage of people who visited the dentist for a single type of treatment in the last year was 70.7% (49.3% in 2005).

The recourse to private dentists has decreased (from 34.7% in 2005 to 32.3% in 2013), while the proportion covered by the National Health System is 5% and remained stable compared to 2005.

In 2013, 12% of people aged 14 and over gave up dental examination or treatment due to  economic reasons. In addition, 85,2% of those who gave up a visit did it for economic reasons.

The disadvantage in the Southern area is quite clear: only 27.7% of people aged 3 years and more visited a dentist or orthodontist compared with the national average, which is 37.9%; moreover higher rates of people renounced a dentist visit for economic reasons.

The proportion of people who visited a dentist for a check-up or professional teeth cleaning, in Southern Italy (16.1%) is half that in the North area (30.7%); while in the North the percentage of those who have never been to a dentist is twice as much (12.1% versus 6.1%).

Overall, oral health has improved compared to 2005. The proportion of people aged 14 and over that still have all their natural teeth (28) increased from 37.8 to 41.4%, while those with no natural teeth decreased from 12.0 to 10.8%.

All indicators of access to dental care and oral health show social inequalities. Paying a visit to the dentist in a year exceeds 50% among people with high educational level and drops to 28.8% among those with a lower one. Older people with no natural teeth are 17.9% among those who have at least a university degree and 41.6% among those with a low educational level.

The proportion of children (3-14 years) who have never been to the dentist declined from 39.4% in 2005 to 34.0% in 2013. This percentage dramatically drops to 32.2% for those with at least one graduated parent and sharply rises to 41.5% among children whose parents have a lower qualification.  In addition the proportion of foreign children (3-14 years) who have never been to the dentist reaches 46%.

Statistics on Health and health care
Laura Iannucci
ph. + 39 06 4673.7213
iannucci@istat.it

Themes: Tags: Typology: id:164066

Reference period: Year 2013

Date of Issue: 06 July 2015

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