Brits avoid dentist

Nearly 40 per cent of British patients avoid visiting the dentist.

Researchers from Simplyhealth in the UK have found the escalating costs of dental care have got so much for one in nine—or two million—that they have avoided check-ups for more than five years, while a quarter have dodged the chair for 18 months.

Another one in four said that dental appointments are considered a ‘luxury rather than a necessity’ in their house and fall low down on their list of priorities.

Interestingly, the figure closely reflects the number of Australians who have avoided dental checkups, according to an AIHW report released last month. The report, Dental attendance patterns and oral health status, found nearly 30 per cent of Australian adults visit varying dentists infrequently and usually for a dental problem.

Adults with an unfavourable pattern of dental attendance were also more likely to report barriers to accessing dental care. In particular, they were three times more likely to report avoiding or delaying dental care due to the cost, having difficulty paying a $100 dental bill, and being very afraid or distressed when making a dental visit.

The Simplyhealth study of 10,000 UK respondents found that although people now find it easier to get an NHS dentist many feel that it doesn’t cover as much as it used to and that they don’t receive the same level of treatment and as a result they feel that a trip to the dentist is an expense many can’t afford.

Nearly one in ten adults say they are so embarrassed by the state of their teeth that they avoid the dentist and nearly one in five say they are scared of their dentist.

More than a third say they have been given a bill for more than £150 from their dentist in the last year with a large percentage of these people having to pay their bill by credit card.

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  1. Stated explanations for non-attendance demonstrate lack of informed decision making. Surely, we must question why lack of education is causing this. Are we not responsible for failure to inform?


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