Why are fewer people visiting the dentist?

dental check-up

Trends indicate that fewer people are booking themselves in to get their teeth checked regularly by a dentist these days, and here at CK Dental we feel this pattern is a cause for concern. Keeping your teeth and gums healthy is extremely important, not just because we only get one set of adult teeth so really should do our best to look after them, but because it is known that poor oral health can have a detrimental effect on many other areas of people’s health.

Oral health research

The Oral Health Foundation has recently commissioned a piece of research to explore why fewer people are visiting the dentist these days for a routine dental check-up, and their findings are interesting. Survey data indicates that cost is the biggest barrier, with over one-third of Britons (36%) admitting that they are choosing not to visit the dentist to save themselves money.

This a big increase versus the previous time this data was collected, with just 17% citing financial concerns in the previous year. There are other factors to consider as well as cost; 22% cite feeling anxious about visiting the dentist as a barrier, 18% fear getting bad news and 8% indicate that work commitments get in the way of their dental visits.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, the Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, believes cost is a factor that the government must not underestimate when looking at why the number of people visiting the dentist may be in decline. He is keen to stress that it is his belief that the government should not progress with its plan to raise dental charges by 5%, which is the current proposal. He says “the cost of visiting an NHS dentist is increasing far beyond that of inflation and pushing many of the population to breaking point. The decision to yet again raise the cost of a dental check-up will hit the poorest areas of society even harder and force even more people to avoid dental visits.”

Young people worst affected

The survey suggests that the worst affected demographic are younger people, who are really feeling the financial strain. It has been well documented that there have been some marked changes to the amount of disposable income young people have these days. Challenges such as significant increases in university tuition fees, increasing rental costs and overall increases in the cost of living are meaning that some young people are now prioritising other things over their oral health.

At CK Dental, we understand that price is often an issue for patients, so we offer dental treatment plans that help spread the cost of routine oral healthcare. Call us on 0117 905 9866 to find out more.