New figures published by NHS Digital in recent days reveal that the number of UK adults visiting NHS dentists has fallen significantly since 2017.
According to the data, NHS dentists now have 22 million patients, down by 98,445 since last year.
This comes at a time when the number of dentists providing NHS services has risen by 1.3 per cent year-on-year, the report reveals.
Just over half (50.7 per cent) of Britons quizzed said that they had visited an NHS dentist at least once in the last two years – with the majority reporting that they enjoyed a ‘positive’ experience.
Of these patients, ‘scale and polish’ was the most common form of treatment received, with dentists performing this procedure 12.7 million times, meaning that it accounted for almost half (45.7 per cent) of all treatments.
Commenting on the statistics, Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, Chair of the British Dental Association (BDA), voiced concerns that the Government needed to do more to help boost patient numbers and encourage more people to attend routine appointments.
“Sadly, the Government has shown no interest in getting hard to reach families to attend, despite the fact that prevention could save our NHS millions,” he said.
David Jacobs, General Practice Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “Whilst the number of adults going to the dentist appears to have fallen, dental practices are still very busy, and are providing a lot of NHS services.
“If more patients attended routine check-ups this will allow dentists to identify problems sooner and reduce the extent of treatment required to maintain the population’s dental health.”
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