More than a quarter (26%) of Brits have cancelled or delayed a dental appointment due to fear of the dentist.
Research from Hudgell Solicitors shows that 80% of Brits admit to being scared of the dentist.
And more than a third haven’t been to the dentist in the last two years.
‘While it’s very understandable to see so many people in the UK are scared of a trip to the dentist,’ Vince Shore, joint head of medical negligence at Hudgell Solicitors, said.
‘It’s very worrying to see how many people are putting off appointments to get their teeth examined.
‘As well as looking at your teeth, dentists also check for signs of oral cancer.
‘Not visiting can potentially be very harmful to your health.’
Worst places for dental attendance
Sheffield is the worst city in Britain for dental attendance, with 42% not attending in the last two years.
The cities with the worst dental attendance include (% that haven’t been to the dentist in the last two years):
- Sheffield (42%)
- Brighton (41%)
- Manchester (40%)
- Bristol (38%)
- Cardiff (37%)
- London (36%)
- Glasgow (35%)
- Norwich (33%)
- Leeds (32%)
- Belfast (32%).
‘Our advice would be to ensure you see your dentist at least every six months and remember to brush your teeth regularly,’ Mr Shore continued.
‘By keeping on top of this, you’ll ensure good dental health and minimise the risk of any potential treatments.
‘And hopefully it will give you peace of mind each time you sit on the dentist’s chair.
‘You only get one set of teeth so it’s important to look after them!’
Pain was the main reason given for a fear of the dentist, with 46% saying they think it will hurt.
Previous experiences (34%) and cost of treatment (32%) rounded off the top three.
The BDA has pointed to the cost of NHS dentistry as the main reason for an increase in DIY dentistry.
‘Whenever Governments fail to invest in NHS dentistry, we find desperate patients opting for “DIY” alternatives,’ BDA chair of General Dental Practice at the time, Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, said.
‘This isn’t the Victorian era.
‘In a country with supposedly universal healthcare these access problems are man-made.
‘They’re borne of failed contracts and cut budgets.
‘Ministers keep treating NHS dentistry as an optional extra.
‘It’s our patients who pay the price.’