24% of dental clinics closed in 10 years

Over the last 10 years, nearly one in four dental clinics run by the Swedish Public Dental Service (Sveriges Folktandvård) have closed, SVT's Rapport news programme reported on Wednesday.

24% of dental clinics closed in 10 years
Photo: Simon Paulin/SvD/Scanpix (file)

A total of 195 clinics have closed across Sweden. The closures have hit rural areas and populations particularly hard.

Gunilla Klingberg, chairwoman of the organisation, believes that everyone should have access to the same level of dental health. However, she acknowledged the difficulty in achieving this aim.

“Part of the problem is that it is difficult to recruit dentists to rural areas,” she told news agency TT. “In addition, we have a shortage of dentists. The number of education centres has increased fairly recently. Later on, one can well evaluate the results.”

Certain counties have merged clinics and formed larger units, which has led to the closure of smaller clinics. In certain cases, patients have been forced to travel further for dental care, but there has been no sign of poorer dental health for patients in rural areas as a result.

Poor oral hygiene is usually linked to socioeconomic factors rather than where one lives in the country, according to Klingberg.

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