Patients put off visiting the dentist due to time constraints

Dental appointmentMore than 4.5 million people in the UK are put off seeing the dentist due to time constraints.

Bupa research found the top reasons for people not attending the dentist were:

  • Not being able to take time off work
  • Cost of appointments
  • Fear of the dentist.

‘Our research shows there are a number of barriers stopping employees looking after their oral health,’ Steve Gates, director of Bupa Dental Insurance, said.

‘We’ve updated our dental insurance plans, making it easier for businesses to support their workforce and to accommodate busy employees.’

Regular attendance

The study also found that more than two million Brits haven’t been to the dentist for over 10 years.

And 8.5 million are leaving more than two years between dental appointments.

Meanwhile, a third of respondents have never been to visit the hygienist.

‘All employers will want to keep their workforce in good shape,’ Dr Neil Sikka, chief dental officer for Bupa UK Insurance, says.

‘There’s a well-established link between oral health and general health.

‘As such it’s vital that we’re encouraging people to make regular visits to the dentist, as it can play a role maintaining their overall health.’

Dental patients visiting GPs

A recent study found that GPs see 380,000 patients a year with dental issues.

The study, published in the British Journal of General Practice (BJGP), warned that GP appointments for dental problems are ‘often not an effective or efficient use of resources’.

The survey of 39 patients who went to their GP with a dental problem found that people are turning to doctors because of the availability of appointments compared with dental care.

‘Ministers need to end the hostile environment many patients face, and ensure all those who need our care can access it,’ Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, chairman of general dental practice at the BDA, said.

‘Dental patients face growing barriers, from higher charges to longer journeys, where even those entitled to free care face the ever-present threat of fines for misclaiming.

‘The result is millions are being wasted.’

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