Around half of UK adults visit a dentist twice a year for a routine check-up, and 40 per cent of these do so privately. This is because they assume it’s the right thing to do, but the practise goes against medical guidelines that suggest the optimum time between routine check-ups will vary, depending on the health of a person’s gums and teeth, and could be as long as two years, says Dr Sara Hurley, England’s chief dental officer.
People could also reduce the need of more regular check-ups by changing their diets, and consuming less sugary foods and drinks.
The point will be emphasised next year when the UK’s dental industry launches its Smile4Life campaign, she says.
There is also the suspicion that the six-monthly check-up is more for the benefit of the dentist than the patient. The cost of the session can be as high as £120 in private clinics, and is £19.70 on the NHS (National Health Service), while some of the UK’s highest-paid dentists are earning £700,000 a year.