dentistMore than four out of five adults (82%) visit the dentist at least once every two years.

This increases for patients on dental payment plans, with 89% visiting the dentist every six months, according to the latest Consumer Oral Health Survey 2019 from Simplyhealth Professionals.

Despite these promising numbers, 6% of adults admit they never visit the dentist.

‘While it’s encouraging that the majority of the population visit their dentist at least once every two years, almost one in five aren’t seeing their dentist regularly and are missing out on this important health check,’ Dr Catherine Rutland, dental spokesperson for Simplyhealth, said.

‘Your dentist will be looking for early signs of more serious conditions in your mouth, such as mouth cancer.

‘As well as indicators of other wider health problems.’

Reasons not to visit

Fear of the dentist/pain is the main reason people gave for people not visiting the dentist regularly.

The other main reasons given for not visiting the dentist were:

  • 35% can’t afford to go
  • 31% only go if they need treatment
  • 16% are worried they’ll find things and need further treatment
  • 14% can’t find/access an NHS dentist
  • 14% don’t think it’s worth the money
  • 11% don’t think they need to go.

‘If people are a little fearful of attending their dentist then the fact that they are paying regularly can encourage them to attend,’ Dr Rutland continued.

‘As a dentist we hope that seeing us regularly dispels some of the worry around attending and builds a positive relationship.

‘It is worrying that 31% of people only go to the dentist if they need treatment.

‘Oral health is no different to all aspects of your health, prevention is better than cure.

‘Prevention or early detection of problems is far better than waiting for a problem to occur.

‘It will avoid having to have extensive treatment and the increased costs associated.’

Finances

More than a quarter of adults are private dental patients, with 53% of them ‘pay as you go’.

A quarter of private patients have a monthly dental plan.

Over half (52%) of adults would cancel an appointment if they had financial worries, this drops to 31% amongst plan patients.

‘Our research has indicated that people with a dental payment plan are far more likely to visit their dentist as they are committed to a regular routine with someone they trust,’ Sandy Brown, director of dentists, said.

‘According to this year’s survey, 93% of people on a dental payment plan are satisfied with the dental care they receive.

‘Being on a dental payment plan and attending regular appointments helps patients spread the cost of treatment and can avoid unexpected bills.

‘By investing in their oral health, patients can help avoid costly future treatment.’


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