Objectives: Local governments in Israel are responsible for the provision of oral health care to school children in their jurisdictions. Although Israel benefits from a high ratio of dentists to population, the evidence indicates a relatively poor level of juvenile oral health. The current study examines why some local government authorities engage in the provision of dental care to school children while others do not. Methods: Data were collected from several sources including the Ministries of Health and the Interior, the Central Bureau of Statistics, and the Israel Dental Association. Results: The findings show that 28% of all localities provided public oral care to only one-third of Israeli school children: localities with low socioeconomic status, those that belong to the Arab sector, and the larger localities tend to supply oral healthcare to their school children. The discussion centers on understanding policy motives to engage or refrain from the provision of public dental care to Israeli children. Conclusions: Dental care can help improve the oral health of Israeli youngsters and contribute further to economic efficiency by diminishing the increased liability of the central government to provide total dental care to soldiers who regularly serve for 3 years after completing high school. This suggests that there is a need to revise government policy so that financial coverage for dental health care services can be provided to all Israeli children.
- Dental health policy
- Oral care