Greeks Return to Dentures as Crisis Hits Dental Care

Among the health problems caused by Greece’s eight-year crisis, the population’s oral health is suffering too, dentists say.

Speaking ahead of World Oral Health Day — which falls on Tuesday — Greece’s federation of dentists warned that due to the drastic cut in living standards, people are neglecting their teeth.

Expensive implants are on the decline, seeing people returning to dentures, said president of the federation, Athanasios Katsikis. “This is because they pay less attention to prevention of teeth decay.”

He also said that a force of just 700 dentists in the nationwide primary public health system is woefully inadequate to ensure that all Greeks have access to dental care.

The expert went on to warn that poor oral health is detrimental to people’s quality of life, as it can lead to intense discomfort and pain from long-term infections and other problems.

According to the latest available data from the Greek statistics authority ELSTAT, in 2009 Greeks spent €1.95 billion ($2.4 billion) on oral care, averaging about 470 euros annually per household.

In 2015 the average spend per household was only about €170, or €701 million across the country.