Home / Health / Special Report: The latest pointer of Greece’s spoil – children’s teeth

Special Report: The latest pointer of Greece’s spoil – children’s teeth

IOANNINA, Greece It was a initial time in weeks Anthoula Papazoi had baked meat. She had stewed a cut of beef, donated by a friend, on a low fire all morning. But now a stew sat untouched, as Papazoi fretted about her 13-year-old daughter Nikoleta’s tooth.

The teen – prolonged black hair, electric-blue spike gloss – emerged from a bedroom in shorts and a tank top. She had slept many of a day and was late for an appointment for a prolonged overdue base waterway procession on a bottom front tooth.

“Do we have painkillers?” she asked, rummaging by a kitchen cabinet. “I’m going crazy.”

“No, we don’t. Go get prepared for a dentist,” Papazoi said.

“Do we have milk?” Nikoleta asked.

She pulled during a square of masking fasten that hold sealed a fridge door, reached in and grabbed a crate of milk. In a high white mop she churned a divert with chocolate powder and 5 spoonfuls of sugar, and afterwards slumped into a chair.

“Get adult and go,” her mom ordered.

In few places are a wounds of Greece’s mercantile basin some-more clear than in a mouths of a nation’s children. By many indicators of dental health, Greece is one of a unhealthiest places in Europe. The series of Greeks 16 years or comparison stating unmet dental caring needs was 10.6 percent in 2013, according to Europe’s statistical organisation Eurostat. That compares to a European Union normal of 7.9 percent.

Dental problems are quite strident among children, according to a new consult by a Hellenic Dental Federation, a supervisory body. And a financial predicament has done things worse. In a decade adult to 2014, 60 percent of all dental problems in 15-year-olds were left untreated for during slightest a year, adult from 44 percent in a prior decade. Almost all a five-year-olds surveyed – 86.8 percent – suffered dental problems that had not been treated, a consult found.

“Teeth are unfortunately deliberate a luxury,” pronounced Niki Diamanti, a dentist who works during Hatzikosta Hospital, one of dual open hospitals in a northwestern city of Ioannina. “If, 5 years ago, people went to a dentist once a year, now they go each 5 years.”

In Greece’s case, a conditions is conspicuous given a dental problems are not essentially caused by changes in daily verbal hygiene, experts say. Rather, children are building tooth diseases for reasons compared to a country’s six-year mercantile depression.

First, income woes have led to fewer dentist visits. Disposable incomes in Greece have shrunk by about 30 percent given 2009. More than 1.2 million Greeks – one in 4 working-age people – are unemployed. Forty percent of children live in poverty, according to a U.N children’s organisation UNICEF, some-more than in places such as Chile, Turkey and Mexico.

As well, a publicly saved complement of giveaway or low-cost medical caring that millions of Greeks relied on for decades has shrunk, mostly given of open spending cuts demanded in sell for a 326 billion euros ($354 billion) in financial assist Greece has perceived given 2010. Per capita health spending fell 9 percent a year between 2009 and 2012.

The result: More than 8 percent of Greeks skipped dentist visits in 2013 given it was too expensive, good above a 5.1 percent European average, according to Eurostat.

The financial predicament has also driven a swell in a expenditure of cheap, high-sugar foods, dentists say. After dipping for a integrate of years, sales of sweetened snacks during supermarkets picked adult again in 2013, according to Euromonitor, a consumer products investigate group.

Greece’s bad teeth might be storing adult problems for a future. Studies around a universe have identified links between bad verbal health and ongoing illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases, a world’s series one killer. Severe resin illness is compared with diabetes and coronary artery disease, according to several medical studies. Scientists are still debating either dental problems means other health conditions, or are merely compared with them.

Doctors and scientists have prolonged compared dental health with mercantile development, mostly given good teeth are correlated with entrance to education. Pain from dental diseases keeps children in many building countries from their studies, according to a World Health Organization.

Paula Vassallo, chair of a European run organisation that promotes verbal health, pronounced children pang tooth pain mostly nap and eat poorly, that can harm how good they do during school. Children with tooth pain can humour gauntness and low levels of vitamin D, she said.

“If you’re in pain like that we can’t sleep, we can’t eat well, we can’t speak, we can’t perform,” says Vassallo, whose Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe receives appropriation from dental caring firms. “The outcome on Greece is going to be huge, not customarily in terms of a mercantile impact, yet also a health, peculiarity of life and employability of people.”

In a Papazoi family, it’s not customarily Nikoleta who has suffered. Anthoula Papazoi’s eldest daughter, Elli, 16, was rushed to sanatorium final year given of pain from a pus-filled tooth, customarily to be incited divided given there was no dentist on call. Papazoi’s eldest child, Christoforos, 17, had a tooth filled recently. And Anastasis, 5, hardly avoided a base waterway progressing this year.

Papazoi, who runs a tiny business employing out cleaners and nurses, stopped contributing to amicable confidence 3 years ago when she could no longer means to. That meant a 44-year-old assimilated an estimated 2.5 million Greeks yet entrance to open health care. She now owes 900 euros to 4 opposite dentists.

The family’s struggles can be seen in a essence of their fridge. Five years ago, it was stocked with cheese, beef and vegetables. Today: celery, a bit of shredded pumpkin and home-churned butter Papazoi’s kin send from their village. The family diet is high in carbohydrates and sugar. Most days they eat rice, pasta, or spasmodic lentils.

“I always used to buy fruit yet now we can’t buy fruit. It’s too expensive,” pronounced Papazoi. “I’d never suppose I’d strech this point: using around from day to night and not even being means to yield a basis for my children.”


Diamanti, a dentist, sees identical struggles roughly each day. The 42-year-old complicated in Athens and in Britain, before relocating to Ioannina in 2010 after she married a local.

By that time, a city of 112,000 nearby a limit with Albania was disorder from Greece’s mercantile downturn. The collateral of a alpine northwest region, Ioannina has a vast tyro race and produces feta cheese and open water. But it is poor. Per capita outlay in 2012 was customarily 12,000 euros, down from 15,000 in 2008 and a third reduce than that of Greece as a whole, according to a latest data.

The downturn has harm internal people’s teeth. The prefecture around a city has a misfortune rate of five-year-olds with caries, or serious tooth decay, in Greece, according to a Hellenic Dental Federation survey.

“People have surrendered, psychologically. They no longer caring about their health, including verbal health,” pronounced Yorgos Papazaharis, conduct of a informal unit’s dental association.

As a result, he said, dentists are struggling to keep their practices alive. He estimates that a cost of dental caring in a segment has forsaken 35 percent over a past 6 years. Many dentists now provide patients for free.

At a same time, Value Added Tax on medical reserve such as string nap or compress has risen from 9 percent to 13 percent during a crisis. VAT on other reserve used by dentists is as high as 23 percent interjection to Greece’s bailout commitments.

Successive governments have attempted to paper over a cracks. Last year, for instance, a Greek supervision gave uninsured adults giveaway medication drugs and giveaway care, including dental treatment, in open hospitals. And this April, a supervision of revolutionary Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras scrapped a 5-euro price to entrance open hospitals. But a country’s general creditors have systematic a supervision to lapse a price or come adult with another approach to make adult a mislaid revenue.

Because so many people find private caring unaffordable Diamanti says she now infrequently sees as many as 20 patients in one day. At private practices it costs 30 to 50 euros for a filling, 150 euros for base waterway treatment, and 200 euros for a crown. For Greeks with inhabitant health insurance, diagnosis in a open sanatorium costs most less. But customarily dual of 199 dentists in Ioannina take such patients, definition appointments can take months to secure. Many people join a prolonged lines during sanatorium puncture rooms, or wait until a rotting tooth needs to be pulled, Diamanti said.

Sitting behind her desk, she rubs her painful hands and wrists. One of a reasons for bad teeth is cultural, she said. “People in Epirus grow adult with a thought that honeyed things make us feel better. They put sugarine on children’s dummies (pacifiers).”

Now many of her patients can’t means fruit and vegetables, she said, so they spin to processed food. “It’s a sugar. Sugar is a food of a poor.”


In her kitchen, stew on a stove, Anthoula Papazoi sum her health problems. A stout lady with auburn hair and orderly embellished fingernails, she has a respiratory illness that is set off by cigarette smoke, clever perfumes or a smell of food. She struggles to make it adult a stairs to her two-bedroom prosaic in a area of low-rise buildings.

Papazoi’s tiny business customarily earns her between 30 and 60 euros a month; some months she creates nothing. The state pays her a benefit. Last year, a family with 4 children or some-more got 3,900 euros a year, yet that volume has now been cut to 2,400 euros. Papazoi says she paid some-more than half of final year’s advantage behind in taxes. The rest goes towards a 200 euros monthly lease for her 70 square-meter apartment. Papazoi says her monthly losses can strech about 1,000 euros. She has divided her home phone and owes hundreds of euros in delinquent H2O and electricity bills.

Before Papazoi divorced, her family was financially comfortable. She worked during a day, shopped in a late afternoon and baked dishes during night. There was always adequate food and clothes, she said, and a children got new boots when they indispensable them.

Now a corridor of her unit doubles as an office, with superfluous bookcases, unpacked cartons and a list built with columns of papers and folders. The paint has begun to chip off a mustard-colored walls of a vital room, that is dotted with vases of cosmetic flowers. Papazoi pronounced her ex-husband, who could not be contacted for this article, does not assistance with costs.

Her dual girls share a room, that is superfluous with boxes and clothes. Anastasis and his comparison hermit Christoforos nap on a berth bed in their mother’s room.

Papazoi bakes her possess bread with flour that kin send. Though her children crave milk, she can frequency means it. She creates adult for a mislaid calcium with yogurt. For breakfast, she infrequently splurges on chocolate croissants. 


Angelos Priovolos, who has worked on a teeth of 3 Papazoi children, pronounced a family’s problems were typical. People have stopped going for check-ups for fear their dentist will find problems they can’t means to fix.

That happened final year when Elli began angry of pain in a behind tooth that had filled with pus. At first, her mom told her to try to omit it. She gave her daughter paracetamol and anti-inflammatory drugs. When she ran out, Papazoi told Elli to swish tsipouro, a Greek brandy, in her mouth.

The nights became unbearable. Papazoi and Elli quarreled. That woke Nikoleta. Exhausted, both girls would nap their summer days away.

One afternoon, when Elli’s pain became too most to bear, Papazoi told Christoforos to take his sister to a hospital. But a children were incited divided given there was no dentist on call, she said.

“She (Elli) phoned and began screaming during me, saying, ‘Are we teasing me? Why did we send me here?’” removed Papazoi. Desperate, she sent her daughter to Priovolos, a private dentist, who supposing simple treatment. Later, after a flourishing had subsided, Elli had a tooth filled.

This summer it was Nikoleta’s turn. One day in August, a roof of her mouth and partial of her throat began flourishing from her putrescent tooth. Papazoi didn’t worry with sanatorium yet took Nikoleta to a private dilettante who non-stop adult a tooth and emptied a pus. Cost: 200 euros, and additional to mislay a protuberance that had shaped on another tooth. Priovolos pronounced such cysts are customarily found in people over 60.

On a dusk of Nikoleta’s subsequent appointment, as a family awaited her return, Papazoi chopped pears sent by her mom and placed them on a image on a kitchen table. Anastasis grabbed a yogurt dessert with chocolate flakes from a fridge.

“You never buy what we want,” joked Elli as she walked into a kitchen, ignoring a pears.

The stew sat, cold. Papazoi’s mobile phone rang. It was a dentist. She listened and afterwards hung up. “Another 100 euros,” she said, withdrawal a room.

($1 = 0.9215 euros)

(Additional stating by Kate Kelland; Edited by Alessandra Galloni and Simon Robinson)

Article source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/05/us-greece-teeth-idUSKCN0SU1H120151105

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