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Dental hotline calls reach record levels

The British Dental Foundation has experienced a rise in the number of calls to its helpline, it has been revealed.

Over the last 12 months, the overall volume of calls has risen by 17 per cent, following another rise the year before. The phone-based service has taken more than half a million calls since it began operations in 1997.

More people than ever are seeking advice about their dental health, although the type of concerns can vary. The most popular questions are about prosthetic dentistry, a subject that makes up 17 per cent of the total calls. This is followed by those seeking advice on how to find a dentist (11 per cent), the rules on NHS dentistry (ten per cent) and the cost of dental treatment (eight per cent).

One of the helpline’s dental advisors, Karen Coates, said: “The growth of technology has shifted the way many of us now search for advice and information, particularly when it comes to our health. Over the last decade, this has seen a reduction in calls to many helplines, but it appears this trend has come to an end – for the Dental Helpline, anyway.

“Knowing that we are speaking with a qualified dental professional gives many of us a greater sense of trust and confidence that the information being provided is reliable and comes from a source which is reputable.”

Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, welcomed news of the increase in demand. He attributed this to the service’s reputation for high-quality independent advice given by trained professionals, and discussed plans to expand the service to meet the demands of the internet age.

Dr Carter said: “Going forward we want to help even more people and are encouraging everyone to get in touch not only via our phone line but also through Twitter and Facebook. The more requests we get, the more people we can help and the more we can help to improve the health of the nation’s mouths.”

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