One-third or 33 per cent of adults aged 16 and above reported not having good oral health, according to a survey by the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID).
Issues related to oral conditions, like self-consciousness and tension, were commonly reported.
Almost four in ten or 37 per cent of employees, equal to 17.2 million people, don’t go for regular dental check-ups, and 4 per cent have never been to the dentist.
Of those who hadn’t seen a dentist in the last two years, 34 per cent said it was due to affordability, and 25 per cent mentioned damage to dental work.
This data comes as the number of NHS dentists has decreased, with 24,151 dentists performing NHS activity in 2022-23, down by 121 from the previous year.
Broadstone head of health & protection Brett Hill says: “Today’s national dental statistics reveal the decaying oral health of the UK population and a worryingly high number failing to get regular dentist check-ups.
“Since the pandemic, there have been numerous reports of people struggling to access NHS dental care or pay the high cost of private dental treatment. The cost-of-living crisis has only exacerbated the problem, with a significant proportion citing dental fees as a reason why they haven’t visited the dentist.
“Dental problems can have a significant effect on the wider health of an individual, from heightening physical and mental stress to increasing the likelihood of more grave conditions like cardiovascular disease. Ultimately, they create obstacles in carrying out day to day tasks and working productively and are likely to be contributing to the surge in economic inactivity due to long-term sickness that is hitting employers hard.
“Dental check-ups are also a crucial first line of defence in the fight against oral cancer, levels of which have increased 34 per cent in the past decade. With 53 per cent of oral cancers only being diagnosed at Stage 4 it’s clear that for some people a lack of access to regular dental check-ups can have profound consequences.
“With more employees grappling with poor oral health and issues around affordability and access to treatment we are seeing more and more employers integrate private dental health support into their health and wellbeing programmes. Not only does this help to reduce sickness absence and economic inactivity but it also accrues the long-term benefits of a healthier, happier and more productive workforce.”