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Private and public dental care in the city of São Paulo in the first decade of the XXI century

Two concomitant movements occur in the first decade of the XXI century within the private and public dental services in Brazil: the entrance of oral health on the agenda of political priorities of the federal government and the vigorous growth of additional dental care. We analyzed the occurrence of these phenomena in the city of São Paulo, by seeking information in official documents and electronic databases in the Municipality of São Paulo, the Ministry of Health and National Health Agency (ANS), and also in scientific literature. During the studied period - January 2000 to December 2009 - and with basis on indicators such as coverage of First Consultation Program and Dental coverage Population Potential, percentages were found that characterize low public assistance and a situation far short of the constitutional principle of universal access to dental care. The growing number of beneficiaries of additional services through exclusively dental coverage insurance plans and other types of private insurance plans in the same period was significant, accounting for a major expansion of population coverage in this mode of care. It was found that, compared to the overall national framework, the city of São Paulo offers poor access to public dental care, with reduced supply of services to adults and aged people. Furthermore, considering the limitations of market additional services to provide dental care to all Brazilians, it reinforces the need for continuity and expansion of Brasil Sorridente, which is the programmatic expression of the National Oral Health Politics.

Public Health Policies; Health Services Accessibility; Dental Health Services

Faculdade de Saúde Pública, Universidade de São Paulo. Associação Paulista de Saúde Pública. Av. dr. Arnaldo, 715, Prédio da Biblioteca, 2º andar sala 2, 01246-904 São Paulo - SP - Brasil, Tel./Fax: +55 11 3061-7880 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil