Around one third (34%) of oral health professionals always offer preventative care advice to patients, according to new research.
The study, carried out by Haleon and the College of General Dentistry, looked at the current role of preventative oral healthcare in the UK.
Speaking to 2,000 consumers and 505 dental health professionals, key findings include:
- One third (34%) of oral health professionals always offer preventative care advice to patients
- One in four (25%) patients weren’t given preventative advice during their last dental appointment
- More than half (59%) of oral health professionals are more likely to offer preventative advice for private patients than NHS patients
- More than one third (37%) of NHS oral health professionals cited time constraints as the top reason for not being able to routinely offer preventative care advice, as opposed to just 15% of private professionals
- Oral health professionals differed on the preventative advice they would recommend to patients.
Oral health professionals differed on the preventative advice they would recommend to patients.
While half (50%) said advice on additional oral hygiene products and brushing techniques were key, only two in five (41%) pointed to advice on diet as preventative care.
The study showed that just over a third (34%) would consider advice on caring for gums to be preventative advice.
Lack of understanding
The study also suggests there is a lack of understanding from patients when it comes to preventative care, especially whether it is routinely available on the NHS. Almost half (48%) of consumers said preventative oral healthcare advice is offered on the NHS and more than one third (34%) were unsure.
Oral health professionals were more aware, with 74% saying preventative oral healthcare advice is offered on the NHS. Younger dentists were more aware that preventative care advice should be routinely available on the NHS.
Bas Vorsteveld, general manager GBI, Haleon, said: ‘We know that oral health professionals are facing huge pressures, and we want to help support them to be able to provide better preventative advice – not just during routine dental appointments, but outside of appointments too.
‘Our findings revealed preventative care advice is not always offered consistently, despite patients and dentists understanding its importance.’
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