The number of Brits heading to the dentist has fallen markedly in the last year.
A new survey suggests that the proportion of people who say they attend every six months has dropped from three in five, to barely two in five people in just one year (59% to 43%).
The statistics also show that the numbers of people who visit the dentist regularly are down to their lowest figure since 2001 (to 69%).
Of the people who don’t attend – the research shows that it’s actually the cost of the dental care which is stopping people attending.
More than 4 in 10 Brits say they can’t afford to go (41%), ahead of the three in 10 (28%) people who say fear of the dentist or fear of pain prevent them from routine dental check-ups.
Another serious problem is the inability to find or access an NHS dentist (25%).
According to the survey by dental payment plan specialist, Denplan, women are finding it hardest to prioritise dental check-ups, with almost half saying they don’t have the funds to go (48%) compared with just over a third of men (36%).
Chief dental officer at Denplan, Roger Matthews, said: ‘It is clear that patients are finding cost an issue in the current economic climate.
‘While this may not be a surprise, it is important that the dental team focuses on retaining their patients by offering a range of payment options. Our own internal research indicates that those patients using a payment plan are least likely to cancel or delay routine dental check-ups, while they provide the practice the peace of mind from a regular form of income.’
Source: The survey was conducted by YouGov Plc on behalf of Denplan Limited. Total sample size was 2,025 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 20-23 October 2009. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).