Four million people off work with dental illnesses

Four million people off work with dental illnesses

A new survey has revealed that one in 10 adults in England have missed at least two weeks of work in the past three years due to oral health concerns.

The findings formed part of Wrigley’s Oral Health Index and were published in the Mirror on 10 March. The problem was particularly severe in the 16 to 34 age group, with one in five having missed a significant amount of work due to problems with their teeth and gums.

The British Dental Association (BDA) said this data was evidence of the impact of the NHS dental access crisis on England’s economy. It said: ‘The crisis in NHS dentistry isn’t just hurting millions. It’s hitting the economy. Deeds need to match words.’

BDA chair Eddie Crouch said: ‘Every time ministers take a miserly approach to funding it hits other parts of their balance sheet. Not just the costs hitting our hospitals and GP surgeries, but the millions of lost hours in our workplaces.’

Ben Atkins is an ambassador for Wrigley, which commissioned the survey. He said: ‘The findings have underscored the importance of addressing the crisis in NHS dentistry. A mix of investment in services and preventative programmes is needed.’

Boosting dental capacity

A spokesperson for the Department of Health responded to the criticism of NHS dental provision, citing the measures to be introduced as part of the dental recovery plan. She said: ‘We want to make access to NHS dental care faster, simpler and fairer and we’re already seeing progress. But there is still more to do.

‘Our dental recovery plan will create 2.5 million additional appointments by offering cash incentives to dentists to take on new NHS patients.’

The recovery plan was revealed in February, announcing measures such as payments for taking on new patients and moving to underserved areas. However, the BDA questioned whether the plan would actually delivery more funding or appointments.

Shawn Charlwood, chair of the BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee, asked: ‘How will “millions” of new appointments be generated when there is nothing to boost capacity or bring dentists back to the NHS? How is £200m in any way generous, when it’s less than half the levels of underspends seen last year, and expected again this year?’

Follow on Instagram to keep up with all the latest dental news and trends.

Get the most out of your membership by subscribing to Dentistry CPD
  • Access 600+ hours of verified CPD courses
  • Includes all GDC recommended topics
  • Powerful CPD tracking tools included
Register for webinar
Add to calendar