Parents don’t realise dental care is free for children

A third of parents don’t realise dental care is free for children, a new survey has revealed.

The survey, carried out by Mydentist, found that the British public is reluctant to visit the dentist due to a host of misconceptions over the cost of dental care.

Nearly half (48%) of respondents didn’t realise under-19s in full time education also receive free dental care and 43% didn’t realise pregnant women or those who have given birth in the past year are also entitled to free treatment.

‘These are truly worrying statistics,’ Steve Williams, clinical services director at Mydentist, said.

‘Despite oral health improving in children in recent decades, the number one reason for hospital admissions remains tooth decay, even though children receive free treatment.

‘We need to raise awareness among parents so that children are taken to the dentist regularly to prevent problems developing.

‘Simple things like painting fluoride on children’s teeth from an early age twice a year can make a real difference, while regular visits to the dentist should be a given.’

Visiting the dentist

Over a quarter (27%) of Brits haven’t visited the dentist in the past two years, survey also found.

This is because the public believes they cannot afford it, waiting lists are too long or they don’t realise they can get NHS treatment.

Worryingly, 9% of those questioned never visit a dentist at all.

‘Even among adults, we see millions not taking advantage of treatment they are entitled to cost free, or paying for private treatment because of a misconception that waiting lists are excessively long,’ Steve Williams continued.

’15 May marks the start of National Smile Month so we want to raise awareness of the importance of good oral health.’

Key findings

  • Of those not currently receiving any dental care, nearly half (47%) thought it was too expensive or they couldn’t afford it
  • A further one in five (22%) currently opt for private dental care and, of those, 45% revealed they only went private because they thought they would have to wait too long for an NHS appointment, or wouldn’t get one at all in their area
  • More than one in five (22%) of those who receive private dental care wrongly think that they can’t access NHS treatment at all because they don’t receive benefits
  • A quarter (24%) of Brits are unhappy with the dental care they currently receive.

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