Costs, Fear, and Time Remain Barriers to Dental Visits

Dentistry Today


Dental care is one of the most accessible work benefits, according to British health insurer Bupa, yet people avoid going to the dentist because of the cost of appointments, fear of the dentist, and a lack of time, including not being able to take time off of work.

Bupa also reports that more than 2 million Brits haven’t been to the dentist in more than 10 years, while 8.5 million have gone more than two years between appointments. Furthermore, more than 21.5 million people in the United Kingdom have never visited a dental hygienist.

“Our research shows there are a number of barriers stopping employees looking after their oral health. We’ve updated our dental insurance plans, making it easier for businesses to support their workforce and to accommodate busy employees,” said Steve Gates, director of Bupa Dental Insurance, which notes that more than two-thirds of its claims are for preventive care.

“All employers will want to keep their workforce in good shape, and there’s a well-established link between oral health and general health. As such, it’s vital that we’re encouraging people to make regular visits to the dentist, as it can play a role in maintaining their overall health,” said Dr. Neil Sikka, chief dental officer for Bupa UK Insurance. 

“By covering preventative care, we’re removing the cost barrier, which previously put people off regular visits, giving workers and employers something to smile about,” said Sikka.

Specifically, 17% of the 2,000 adults surveyed by Bupa put off a dental visit because of the cost of private appointments. Another 17% cited their fear of the dentist, followed by 16% attributing their delay to the cost of National Health Service appointments, 14% noting a lack of time and having to take off of work, and 14% blaming a previous bad experience.

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