Over 20% people surveyed attending dentist less often than in 2010

Irish Dental Association warns of “neglect”, 80% Irish people have gum disease

Some 23% of people are visiting the dentist less often than in 2010, while 58% said they would only consider visiting the dentist in an emergency situation, according to a new dental health survey.

Some 23% of people are visiting the dentist less often than in 2010, while 58% said they would only consider visiting the dentist in an emergency situation, according to a new dental health survey.

Fri, Jan 3, 2014, 01:00

Four out of five people believe their teeth and gums are healthy and look good, but almost a quarter are visiting the dentist less often than in 2010, according to a new dental health survey.

The survey of 750 adults was carried out by Behaviour and Attitudes on behalf of the Irish Dental Association (IDA).

It found some 23 per cent of people are visiting the dentist less often than in 2010, while 58 per cent of those surveyed said they would only consider visiting the dentist in an emergency situation.

The survey also found 46 per cent of Irish people are spending less on dental health, while 41 per cent “rarely if ever” think of visiting the dentist.

IDA chief executive Fintan Hourihan said the survey showed the impact of the recession on dental health and exposed “a disconnect between what people think and how they act”.

“It’s clear this is having a hugely negative impact on the dental health of the population. While over 80 per cent believe their gums are healthy, according to the most recent national oral health survey, 80 per cent of Irish people have some form of gum disease,” he said.

“While 94 per cent of respondents said they thought dental health was important, almost 60 per cent said they would only attend a dentist when they really need to or in an emergency.

“Financial pressures are definitely a factor here but so also is the lack of information from the HSE.

“According to the survey, people who attend their dentist annually are much more likely to be middle-class females under 44 years,” Mr Hourihan added.

“The Department of Health needs to reach out to the people who are not attending and encourage them to do so. The cost of preventative treatment will be much less than the cost of the current neglect.”

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