New figures show half of adults in England haven’t been to the dentist for 2 years
New figures from the NHS show that around half of adults living in England haven’t seen an NHS dentist in the last two years.
Statistics from NHS Digital show that 51.4 percent of adults saw an NHS dentist in the 24-month period leading up to June 30th 2017 despite recommendations from dentists. Ideally, most dentists recommend check-ups every 6-12 months for adult patients.
The figures come as stories appear in the press claiming that people are being forced to go private or even remove their own teeth because they can’t get an appointment at their local dental practice. BBC research suggested that around 50 percent of the practices in England listed on NHS Choices aren’t accepting new NHS patients and 40 percent aren’t advertising child places.
Recently, a couple from Yorkshire appeared hit the headlines after claiming that they had been refused access to a dentist and forced to extract their own teeth. Rebecca Brearey, from Dewsbury, said that she had been trying to register with a dental practice for four years, but had repeatedly been told that there were no places available. She said that she reached the point of begging for help, but was still unable to see a dentist and ended up removing her own tooth.
Chair of general dental practice at the British Dental Association, Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, accused successive governments as viewing dentistry as a “Cinderella service” and said that urgent action needs to be taken to prioritise dental access and also to improve morale in the dental profession, which the BDA chair claims is at “an all-time low.”
The NHS stated that 95 percent of patients who wanted a dental appointment in the 2-year period leading up to the end of June 2017 were able to get one.