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Cost of living crisis: one in five concerned over dental affordability

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As the cost of living continues to soar, one in five Brits fear they may not be able to afford regular dental appointments.

In a new report by the Association of Dental Groups (ADG), findings reveal the financial strain felt by ordinary Brits.

For example:

  • One in five Brits are concerned they will no longer be able to afford appointments due to cost of living struggles

  • Over one in ten young people (18 – 34) have not been to the dentist in the past year over fears of needing expensive treatment

  • One in ten expect to be forced to cut down on appointments

  • Two in five have not been to the dentist in over a year – with one in five citing this was due to not being able to afford an appointment

  • Nearly three-quarters would support a political party pledging to improve access to NHS dentistry.

Around two fifths (41%) of Britons are concerned about appointment availability in the next 12 months. Of this group, the main cause of concern were the Covid-19 backlogs and excessive waiting lists – cited by 39% and 37% respectively.

As the cost of living crisis intensifies, more than one in ten (13%) now expect they will have to cut back on their dental appointments to save money. Around six per cent have already cancelled appointments for this same reason.

Rising sharply

Neil Carmichael is the chair of the ADG and former Conservative MP for Stroud. He said: ‘The cost of living is rising sharply, and people should not have to choose between living costs and caring for their teeth. It is now harder than ever to get access to dental care in this country and the government’s slow progress on NHS contract reform is making the situation worse.

‘This poll confirms that the next General Election is where the politicians are going to be judged on levelling up – bread and butter questions such as “Can I get access to an NHS dentist? And why are the waiting lists for care so long?” along with improving the provision of other local public services.

‘Many MPs know this is the number one issue in their “constituency postbags”. At the root of the problem is a lack of NHS dentists in England. We have outlined six measures that will help us to make up the deficit and attract more clinicians back to the NHS.'

‘NHS dental charges have been rising well above inflation for several years until 2021. As with prescription charges, the government should now reassure the public and announce a freeze to avoid people being deterred from seeking care due to the cost of living crisis.

‘If there was ever a candidate for “levelling up”, NHS dentistry must be it. Funding has been flat for the past decade and recruitment is now near impossible in rural and coastal communities. Particularly the East of England from Whitley Bay to the Wash.’

Now more than ever offering dental insurance as an employee benefit is a great help and support to your employees and their family. With costs soaring for treatment, and access to NHS dentists dwindling, dental insurance offers reassurance and helps to preserve the health and wellbeing of your employees. Our dental insurance plans include check-ups and hygienist appointments, which are a great way to help prevent health issues occuring.

If you would like to talk to us about dental insurance for your employees, please contact us today.

Article correct at time of publication 7.7.22.


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