Thousands Avoiding The Dentist In Brighton And Hove

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The latest Department of Health figures show that thousands of people in Brighton and Hove miss out on regular dental checks.

Statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre revealed that in the two year period leading up to June 2014, 145,426 people living in the region saw an NHS dentist compared to 154,846 people in the same time period leading up to June 2006. This was the point when a new dental contract was introduced by the Labour Government.

Experts believe that access to NHS dentistry suffered immediately after the introduction of the new contract, as many NHS dentists left to work in the private sector. There have also been concerns about the cost of dental care, as surveys reveal that most people who don’t see a dentist on a regular basis claim that they cannot afford the fees. NHS dental fees are heavily subsidised by the state and taxpayer’s; however, it is one of few chargeable services within the NHS.

The advice from dentists is to have a dental check-up every 6-9 months and the fact that so many people are going for at least 2 years without seeing a dentist is alarming. Missing out on appointments increases the risk of gum disease and decay and studies have shown that oral disease can increase the risk of a host of health problems, from heart disease to diabetes.

Figures from East Sussex and West Sussex were more promising, with increasing numbers of people seeing a dentist. New practices have opened and existing services have expanded to improve access and this has clearly had a positive effect. However, there is still a long way to go in Brighton and Hove and local officials will be hoping to target this area in the near future and improve uptake figures.

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