New EU legislation should make it easier for British cpatients to overcome the difficulties of finding an NHS dentist and seek private dentistry abroad instead, it’s been claimed.

According to EU health commissioner Androula Vassiliou, British consumers may soon be able to visit another European country for dental treatment and claim the cost of the treatment from the NHS.

Ms Vassillou promised the controversial proposal on cross-border healthcare would be discussed when she was made Health Commissioner for the European Parliament earlier this year.

At the time she said: ‘It is estimated that only 1% of patients leave their country for healthcare abroad. That is not an amount that will put national health systems in danger.’

Dentistry abroad is already frequently cheaper than private treatment in the UK, but the latest move is set to make it even more inexpensive.

It will not, however, cover cosmetic dentistry such as tooth whitening.

A recent report by the NHS Information Centre found that the number of people being treated by NHS dentists fell by 1.1 million between 2006/07 and 2007/08.