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Afraid of the dentist … or how much it will cost?

by rt staff writer in Teeth
2 min read

The Sydney Morning Herald and Age newspapers recently reported that two-thirds of Australians haven’t been to the dentist in two years.

And it’s not just due to lack of availability of dental appointments during lockdown. Fifty-four per cent of people who delayed said they could not afford it.

The Australian Dental Association’s (ADA) annual survey of 25,000 people found not only have 68 per cent of Aussies not been to the dentist in two years, but a quarter have also not been to a dentist in five years.

A high number of respondents (67%) said they have delayed treatment for suspected cavities, cracked teeth or bleeding gums in the past 12 months. This figure was highest in Victoria (71%) and NSW (69%).

Despite more people delaying treatment in states that experienced lockdown restrictions and cases of COVID-19 in the community, it was cost-of-living pressures that were most indicated as barriers to seeing a dentist in 2021.

The ADA research found of those who put off dental treatment, 42% were putting off a usual dental check-up, 26% were putting off checking a new problem and 24% were delaying treating an existing problem.

“COVID has affected some things, but it’s not the standout reason why people aren’t visiting the dentist. And that is a bit surprising,” Australian Dental Association spokesperson, Dr Mikaela Chinotti said.

During the past 10 years of the survey the proportion of people reporting delaying treatment has increased by half.

Professor Heiko Spallek, dean of the University of Sydney’s School of Dentistry, said it was a “global trend” for people to delay dentistry during periods of economic stress.

“People put off dentistry very often because it is not seen as a life-threatening problem and that is exacerbated when the price of services is very high,” he said.

Avoiding dental treatment for two years or more increase the risk that diseases of the mouth can develop and often there is no pain until there is a problem.

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You can check out the SMH article here: www.smh.com.au/healthcare/two-thirds-of-australians-haven-t-been-to-the-dentist-in-two-years-20220726-p5b4lg.html


Afraid of the dentist … or how much it will cost?