Millions of British Prioritizing Social Lives Over Dental Health

Importance of Dental Health

A new survey suggests that millions of U.K. citizens are endangering their oral health to focus on their social lives instead.

According to Rochdale Online, the data1 survey of more than 2,000 people revealed that up to one in five, or 18%, of British citizens said they would cancel a dental appointment in order to “go to the pub, order a takeaway, buy clothes, go to the cinema or go bowling.”

Currently, the U.K. is in the midst of National Smile Month, a campaign to encourage British citizens to brush their teeth twice daily, cut down on sugary foods and drinks, and visit their dentist as often as recommended. Experts generally suggest that individuals visit their dentist twice a year for check-ups, to maintain adequate dental health.

Avoiding dental appointments can have dire consequences, including requiring trips to an emergency dentist. Emergency dental extractions and infected root canals are common consequences of skipping the dentist and hallmarks of the emergency dentistry field.

Dr. Nigel Carter, OBE, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, reinforced the fact that skipping dental appointments for social outings can have severe consequences.

“Visiting the dentist regularly, as often as they recommend, is a cornerstone of good oral health practice,” he told Rochdale Online. “If people are choosing to overlook that and perhaps harm their oral health further by snacking at the cinema, drinking too much alcohol or indulging in a poor diet, they are risking further complications by just skipping one appointment.”

Research shows that the British aren’t the only people around the world who are neglecting their dental health. Only about 61.6% of Americans aged 18 to 64 visited their dentist over the last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and an astonishing 78% of Americans will have at least one dental cavity by age 17.

“A shopping trip might be more fun, but the financial savings of prevention -– to your mouth and to your wallet -– are much higher than if you put off oral health treatment until it’s too late,” Dr. Carter said to Rochdale Online. “Visits to the dentist can identify problems in the early stages, before they develop into something more severe. If you forego basic check-ups due to cost, there’s every chance when something goes wrong and you do need to visit the dentist you’ll have to pay a much larger amount upfront.”

Author Dr. Jonathan McNeil

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