Dental care ignorance costing NHS over £2billion

More than half of all adults in the UK suffer periodontal disease – costing the NHS around £2\.7billion a year.

That’s according to Periodontal Disease in Modern Day Britain, a new report by University College London.

Despite the prevalence of the disease, recent survey results suggest that more than 80% of adults have not heard of the condition or cannot identify its symptoms.

Lack of awareness and prevention take a toll in the form of professional extractions to remove teeth in diseased areas of the mouth.

The report also reveals more than 13 million Brits only brush their teeth once per day, with people with flexible working hours tending to clean their teeth more frequently.

With periodontal disease already widespread in the UK, the findings of the report offer a bleak prognosis for the nation’s oral health, aggravated by lax oral hygiene routines with people neglecting flossing and use of mouthwash.

Age is also a factor in the state of the nation’s mouths.

The report finds that approximately 67% of people aged over 65 suffer, compared to 47% of 25-34 year-olds.

If rates of periodontal disease continue to rise in proportion with the ageing population, by 2030, eight million members of today’s over-35 population could suffer from advanced periodontitis.

‘Overall oral health in the UK is improving,’ says report author Professor Richard Watt.

‘However, with an ageing population and more older people retaining their natural teeth into their old age, periodontal disease is going to be a major issue for a significant number of the population.

The report, commissioned by Listerine, also reveals regional differences with people living in the North-West, in Liverpool and Manchester most at risk, suffering disproportionate levels of periodontal disease against the national average, compounded by lack of comprehensive dental care in the area.

The North-West has the fifth-worst ratio of NHS dentists per capita in Britain with 1 dentist for every 2,304 members of the population.

The worst ratios exist in:
• the West Midlands (1:2,581)
• the East Midlands (1:2,554)
• Yorkshire & the Humber (1:2,543)
• the North East (1:2,493).

Slightly better ratios exist:
• London (1:1,957)
• the South East coast (1:1,970)
• South Central England (1:2,202)
• the East of England (1:2,215).

Copies of Periodontal Disease in Modern Day Britain and the Future Foundation report The Dental Dilemma: A report on the future of oral hygiene are available upon request.

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