A survey by healthcare cash plan provider, Sovereign Health Care, has revealed that 43% of adults in the UK have skipped routine or necessary dentist or optician visits in the last 12 months for fear of how much their bill for treatment could be.
Worries about money (20%), increased living costs, including food and utility bills (18%) and reduction in income due to job loss or cuts in benefits (13%) are the top reasons for putting off vital treatment.
Sovereign Health Care’s chief executive, Russ Piper, said: ‘It’s an unavoidable fact that even the most routine dental, optical or medical treatments can end up costing money.
‘However it’s worrying to learn from this survey that so many people are putting themselves at risk by delaying dental and optical healthcare, putting off treatments or avoiding visits to their dentist or optician for fear of the costs they might incur.
‘It’s true that bills for every day health care can soon mount up; whether it’s to see a dentist or optician, for prescriptions, or a stay in hospital overnight, and this is where a cash plan can really be of benefit.’
Of those surveyed, 7% said they’d neglected visiting the dentist because they are not currently registered with one or are on an NHS waiting list.
People living in Leicester are the biggest dentist-dodgers (38%) followed by Chelmsford (37%), Oxford (36%), Worcester and Aberystwyth (34%).
Norwich was the most conscientious city when it came to keeping up with oral health with only 10% avoiding the dentist’s chair, closely followed by York (12%).
Top 10 cities where people have avoided the dentist in the last 12 months due to worries about cost of treatment:
- Leicester – 38%
- Chelmsford – 37%
- Oxford – 36%
- Worcester – 33%
- Aberystwyth – 33%
- Leeds – 31%
- Birmingham – 30%
- Wolverhampton – 29%
- London – 28%
- Southampton – 28%.
Norwich has the best record when it comes to the visiting the dentist chair with only 10% avoiding treatment.
Women are the biggest offenders when it comes to missing important treatment overall, with 27% confessing they have avoided the dentist over the last 12 months.
This is compared to 23% for men.
Young people overall are the most concerned about how much treatment might cost them with 32% aged 18-24 saying they have avoided the dentist.
The least number of people putting off dental treatment is the over 55’s (17%).