Everybody knows that visiting the dentist regularly is essential in order to stave off tooth decay and ensure that any potential health issues are spotted in good time and dealt with. However, recent statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) have shown that despite campaigns, the number of people doing so has barely risen in the last eight years.
The research looked at the statistics for NHS dental care, and found that over 29.9 million adult and child patients in England saw an NHS dentist in the 24 months leading up to June 2014. This may seem like a lot, but it equates to roughly 55.9 per cent of the population: just over half.
Furthermore, this is barely an increase on the figures from eight years ago. In the 24 months leading to June 2006, a total of 55.6 per cent of the UK population visited the dentist. That means the number of people visiting has only increased by around 0.3 percentage points.
However, a more alarming statistic is that the number of children that have seen an oral healthcare professional in the last 24 months has actually fallen over the last eight years. In 2006, 70.2 per cent of the UK’s child population had seen an NHS dentist. Now, the figure stands at just 69.2 per cent.
Kingsley Manning, chair of the HSCIC, said this was a sign of the “impact of a growing population on NHS dentistry”. As the number of people in the UK grows, there is a need for more dental practices that does not appear to have been filled.
As a result, the public is still not visiting the dentist as much as it should. This is especially true for children. Practices should look to invest in expansion in order to deal with the growing demand for dentists from Britons.