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Regular dental trips missed by many

Friday December 10th 2010

Nearly 40% of people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland fail to have regular dental check-ups, survey results have shown.

Although 61% regularly visit their dentist, 10% only go occasionally, according to the NHS Information Centrer.

Another 27% said they only went to the dentist when they had tooth trouble, and around 2% of people with at least one natural tooth admitted they never went.

The figures, based on survey results from more than 11,000 people, showed that the proportion of adults going for regular check-ups rose between 1978 and 2009.

But the proportion varied according to household. While 66% of adults in managerial and professional households attended regularly in 2009, only 55% from routine and manual occupation households did so.

The report found that more adults in Wales have dental problems than in England, despite seeing a dentist more often, and a greater percentage of the Welsh population have no natural teeth, not enough teeth to eat comfortably, and more decay.

One in 10 people in Wales has no natural teeth, compared with around a third in 1978, according to the report.

NHS Information Centre chief executive Tim Straughan said: "The survey suggests that more than one in 10 of us are extremely anxious about being in the dentist's chair."

Copyright © Press Association 2010

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