Seven in 10 people unhappy with their smile, survey reveals

Tue, Aug 7, 2012, 01:00

SOME 70 per cent of people say they are not happy with their smile, a new survey has found.

The snapshot survey of 126 Irish adults reveals one-third have a missing or a broken tooth, with more than one-quarter of respondents attributing this to poor dental habits in childhood.

Carried out by Dublin dental practice the Seapoint Clinic, the survey found that even though seven out of 10 respondents were unhappy with their smile, one in five visited the dentist only every two years.

The survey also found that while 84 per cent of people brushed their teeth twice a day, almost half of them, 49 per cent, said they never floss. Some 2 per cent of respondents said they had never been to a dentist.

Separately, recent figures released by the Irish Dental Association (IDA) show that while 3.3 million Irish people are entitled to a free dental examination, fewer than 20 per cent of them availed of it last year.

IDA chief executive Fintan Hourihan described the association’s figures as “shocking”, and said suggestions by Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton that PRSI contributions should be increased “beggared belief”.

Responding to the IDA figures, Galway-based dentist Dr Peter Gannon said the main reason only one in five people was availing of the free examination was confusion and lack of clarity among patients over their entitlements.

“If something is free it is usually totally oversubscribed. Eight out of 10 Irish people are entitled to a free oral exam so why are attendance figures so low? The fault lies with the HSE and the Department of Social Protection,” he said.