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The dental and oral health program for students involves fluoride varnish therapy for students twice a year.
The dental and oral health program for students involves fluoride varnish therapy for students twice a year.

Dental Services Proposed for High School Students

The scheme will cover high school students once it is guaranteed a sustainable source of funding

Dental Services Proposed for High School Students

The Oral Health Council at the Health Ministry is seeking to expand the oral and dental health scheme for primary school students to include high schoolers as well.  
At present, the program covers children up to the age of 14 and the council’s goal is to increase the maximum age to 18.
The idea is to continue the service for primary school students as they enter high school.
“This means that every year around 1 million more students will be covered,” said Saeed Asgari, head of the Oral Health Council, ISNA reported.
Now in its third year, the plan has so far offered five rounds of therapy to 7 million primary school students in 60,000 schools across the country. The program is not intended for current high school students.  
However, the proposal will increase the financial burden of the Health Reform Plan, which is a big challenge.
“The expansion is among our major targets and will be achieved once the scheme is guaranteed a sustainable source of funding,” said the official.
The dental and oral health program for students inaugurated in 2015 based on a memorandum of understanding with the Education Ministry and involves fluoride varnish therapy for students twice a year.  
Fluoride therapy protects teeth from cavities or gradual decay, re-mineralizes the tooth surface and helps treat dentine hypersensitivity.
As a result, the number of decayed, missing or filled teeth among 12-year-old school kids has seen a slight drop from 2.09 to 1.8.
“If pursued as planned, the tooth decay index among 12-year-old students is expected to drop to 1.0 by 2021,” said Asgari, adding that the measure will also prevent the decay of 1.2 million teeth.
The treatment of tooth decay among 12-year-old students in villages and towns with a population of less than 20,000 is covered by basic insurance meaning they can be treated free of charge.
Last year, around 1.5 million students received free dental restoration services.
“If we manage to decrease the number of decayed teeth to a half, the costs of treatment will also reduce by 50%,” said the official.
Tooth decay remains one of the most common chronic diseases among Iranians. On average, every Iranian has more than two decayed, missing and filled teeth while the global average is 1.8.
One of the reasons for unfavorable dental health conditions is the lack of nationwide promotion of oral hygiene. Furthermore, access to oral healthcare is limited, largely due to inadequate insurance cover and insufficient dental care providers.

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