The Spanish government is set to approve legislation that will provide free preventive dental care to children aged 0 to 14, as well as other population groups, via the country’s public healthcare system.
Approximately 7 million Spaniards, mostly children aged 0 to 14, will be able to receive free dental examinations through the country’s public health system in the near future.
On Tuesday, the Spanish cabinet was expected to approve €44 million for the country’s new Oral Healthcare Plan, which seeks to provide free dental care to children, pregnant women, individuals with mental disabilities or individuals with upper limb physical disabilities, and to persons with neck and head cancer.
Despite the fact that Spain’s public health system is widely regarded as among the best in the world, the majority of Spaniards must pay a private dentist for a check-up or any dental treatment.
Some areas provide more than others. In the case of young children, for example, Madrid pays for fillings in children of age 6 to 15, Andalusia pays for check-ups in children aged 6 to 15, and both Catalonia as well as the Valencia region provide free preventative care to those between ages 0 to 14.
The new Spanish Oral Health Plan aims to “homogenize” public dental coverage for children and other vulnerable populations across the country’s 17 regions and two independent cities.
According to Minister Of health Carolina Darias, children between the ages of 0 to 14 will be the main beneficiaries of this legislation, which includes regular check-ups, minor interventions, cavity analysis, and other services.
The future legislation, which must still be approved by the legislature before it can be implemented, will also prohibit the imposition of additional co-payments for non-urgent healthcare transportation or ortho-prosthetic and therapeutic dietary products.
Braces and teeth whitening are not cosmetic procedures that are covered.
The plan included pregnant women because bleeding increases during pregnancy as a result of increased circulation and calcium levels dropping.
According to the health minister, the main objective of the legislation is preventative dental care because “most” diseases that relate to oral health, like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, or obesity, “could be treated and prevented in the early stages.”
The proposed legislation also states that these free healthcare programs cannot be handled by private companies in their current form.
The €44 m in free dental care finances will come from the EU’s €70 billion post-pandemic recovery plan.