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Fear of the dentist stops one third of us getting dental care

Research conducted by Centre for Dentistry has found that a fear of the dentist is stopping people from getting the oral attention they need

NHS research has shown that only six per cent of us are happy with our smile, but a third of us fear the dentist’s chair and 79 per cent say they are put off receiving dental advice.

While we are fairly happy to visit GPs and local hospitals for medical attention, visiting the dentist attracts an undeserved stigma with experts believing fear, time and cost hinders Britons from attending a dental practice.

Despite the ‘sugar tax’, which was brought in under a year ago in a bid to discourage the amount of sugar we consume through drinks, primarily aimed at children, almost nine out of ten tooth extractions in hospitals were for rotting teeth in young children.

15,000 children had tooth extractions last year, with a near 13,000 of them being a result of tooth decay that could have been avoided with regular dentist visits or advice.

Dentist and Managing Director of Centre for Dentistry, Cathal Hayes, believes fear is just one of the major reasons why we are avoiding the chair, with research showing time and cost also stops one in seven of us from taking a visit.

“Dental anxiety is a real issue for many people. A recent survey we conducted found that fear was a key reason why people avoided the dentist. Luckily, dentistry has changed greatly in the past 10-15 years. This means that dental anxiety is reducing and dentists work hard to ensure a positive experience for patients.”

In a bid to reduce fear and encourage check-ups, Hayes is making his practices accessible in Sainsbury’s across the country and focusing on building relationships with patients and children as early as possible.

“Building a trusted relationship with the dentist and having a positive experience can be even more important than the examination itself and means that patients and children are much more likely to grow up with positive feelings about their oral health with trips to the dentist,” says Hayes.

“Centre for Dentistry is helping to bring dentistry to patients in an accessible, convenient and easy to understand way, which is why you can find us inside Sainsbury’s. We want to help keep people in good health for as long as possible and looking after your oral health is a key part of that.”

Currently, only one in ten UK adults meets the criteria for excellent oral health, with around a third suffering from tooth decay, notably caused by excess sugar. To avoid this, experts are advising to go for a simple check-up, talk issues through with their dentists and to act on their advice.

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