"A guaranteed right for every Swede to have a good dental service touches me both politically and emotionally. I am resolved on achieving that we will never come back to a society where the status of your teeth is a class mark."
Prime minister Gran Persson in the book Den som r satt i skuld r icke fri (He who is in debt is not free)
(Atlas frlag 1997)

Read and listen

Agneta Persson, "Tandlsa lften om billigare vrd"
Dagens Arbete nr 2/2006

"Laga hlen i tandvrdsfrskringen"
Rapport frn LO, juni 2005
Frfattare: sa Forssell

Find out more

Commisson on Dental Service
"Nytt tandvrdsstd fr vuxna"
Kommittdirektiv 2005:136
Utredare: Curt Malmborg, generaldirektr Frskringskassan


Hard Rain
The web poster with sharp edges

Hard Rain    No 14    February 21, 2006
Dental service - most important election year promise
Many people can't afford to go to the dentist. Now we are waiting for the proposals from the Commission on Dental Service. Class differences in dental health will increase if the Swedish dental service support isn't changed.
The overall aim for dental service, as expressed in the Dental Service Law (1998:125), is good dental health and dental service on equal conditions for every citizen. That means that nobody should be prevented from dental service for economic, political, religious, cultural and other reasons.

The 1974 dental service insurance, together with free dental service for children and the work of the national dental service, had for some years great importance for dental health in Sweden. The government set prices, the insurance covered all treatments and patients paid a part of the total cost.

Then it was downhill for the Swedish dental service. The insurance was impaired in step with Government finances and when prices were deregulated in 1999 a lot of people found it too expensive to visit the dentist.

Now the numbers show "loud and clear" how bad the situation is. Statistics from the relevant authorities clearly show that the undermining of the insurance has hit economically weak groups in the first place.

  In June 2005 came the trade union report "Laga hlen i tandvrdsfrskringen" (Fill the holes in the dental service insurance). This is shocking reading. Every third man and every fifth woman age 25-34 have not visited the dental service for the last two years. Single mothers are a vulnerable group and the same goes for the unemployed, persons with social allowance and immigrants.

The Swedish Confederation of Trade Unions fears increasing class differences in dental health if the official dental service support isn't changed. A reasonable demand is that "the same fees should apply to dental service as to other health services, i.e. one shouldn't have to pay more than 100 for dental service over a twelve month period".

Now we are waiting for the proposals from the Commission on Dental Service. In bright presentations it has been said that the government is prepared to spend billions on a generous and substantial reform of the dental service. It should be valid for all grownups of 20 years and up and there would be two objectives: basic preventive dental service should be available for everybody and the citizens should be protected from high costs for this service.

Hard Rain continuous to watch how the government is handling the task of putting some life into dental service. Here we have a question for this year's election - and an election year promise - that affects almost every voter.

Now is the time for the Persson administration to apologize for the fatal deregulation of dental service in 1999. A strong "bracer" must be found in the 2007 national budget.