As purse strings tighten, is Britain's dental health going to suffer?

According to a poll of 11,785 British adults, cost is a major factor preventing them from visiting the dentist. More than a fifth (21%) claim they can't afford it and one in ten (10%) are worried that the cost may be too high since they have not been for sometime. Does this mean the economic environment is stopping people visiting the dentist more frequently?

Standards set by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) state that people should not leave longer than 24 months between appointments. However, 20% of individuals in healthcare provider Simplyhealth's Annual Dental Survey 2012 (that have ever been to the dentist) have not visited one in 18 months or more. This means that a vast number of British adults may be neglecting their dental health due to the pressure they are feeling financially.

James Glover, spokesperson for Simplyhealth comments: "Concerns over the cost of dental treatment are apparent. With 22% of those people that have visited the dentist receiving bills of over £300, and 44% of these paying for the treatment by credit card, it is vital that individuals plan how to cover these costs. Dental plans and cash plans are a great way of helping individuals and families to spread the cost of visiting the dentist, ensuring dental care is affordable even when finances don't allow.

"During difficult financial times when every expenditure is scrutinised, perceived value for money for individuals is essential. Our survey shows that this is not always the case with dentistry, as only half (54%) believe that visiting the dentist is very good or fairly good value for money. This lack of value, in addition to an increasing number of other financial constraints may also be having a negative effect on the nation's dental health."

Michael Thomas, practicing dentist and Simplyhealth's Dental Advisor states: "When money is tight it can be the case that non urgent appointments, which could include routine visits to the dentist, are over looked. It is, however, essential that people still continue with their scheduled routine visits to the dentist. These appointments are not only designed to diagnose current problems but they are also all about helping to prevent dental problems from occurring. With 54% of adults worried about their ability to afford dental care in the future it is even more important to ensure those preventative measures are in place.

"It is also important, whilst at your appointment, to take the time to make the most of it. Simplyhealth's survey results suggest that people aren't utilising their appointments to the full extent they could. 36% of people would not consider consulting their dentist on stopping smoking, dental education for children, mouth cancer concerns, diet changes, removal of wisdom teeth, botox and facial fillers or tooth implants. By using your time with your dentist to talk about things like stopping smoking, the removal of wisdom teeth and childhood dental health you are more likely to feel that you are receiving good value for money."

With a Simply Cash Plan or Simply Dental Plan, individuals can claim money back towards the cost of check-ups, treatment and emergencies. Simplyhealth's plans entitle people to claim for as many treatments as they want up to an annual limit. Individuals simply pay a monthly premium and once the appointment has been attended the money can be claimed back by completing a claim form and sending off the receipt. For further information please visit


Notes to editors

- A copy of Simplyhealth's Annual Dental Survey 2012 as well as interviews with Michael Thomas, case studies and a spokesperson from Simplyhealth are available upon request

- All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 11785 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 16 - 23 March 2012. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct. Based around principles of data protection legislation and research ethics, the MRS code has the confidence of the business community, government and regulators

About Simply Health

- We became Simplyhealth in 2009 after bringing together HSA, BCWA, LHF, HealthSure, Totally Active, our   family of health companies have joined together over the last ten years to form Simplyhealth

- We've been providing healthcare solutions for 140 years, dedicated to serving our customers and patients through a variety of cash plans, dental plans, private medical insurance, self funded health plans and mobility and living aids 

- Simplyhealth is a trading name of Simplyhealth Access, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority Simplyhealth as it stands today, now covers nearly four million people with health plans (more than any other company) and helps 20,000 companies with their employees' health

- Simplyhealth is committed to making a positive impact on its communities. Each year, we donate over £1 million to  health related charities and causes


The information contained in these articles is intended to be for general interest, and should not be relied upon for specific conditions or complaints. You should always consult your GP or other healthcare practitioner for specific advice. The information provided is not the opinion of Simplyhealth and has been sourced through a third party.