27/04/2012 13:07 BST

Half Of British Women 'Can't Afford' Dentist, Poll Suggests

Half of British women don’t go to the dentist more frequently because they can’t afford it, a new poll by Simplyhealth suggests.

Cost was the primary reason cited by women in a poll of almost 12,000 adults, with one in five saying they feared the price would be too high due to the length of time they’d left since their last visit.

According to the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), people shouldn’t leave longer than 24 months between appointments.

The British Dental Association’s chief executive, Peter Ward, pointed out that during times of financial anxiety, dental care can get ‘deferred’.

“Achieving short-term money savings at the expense of longer term health problems really isn’t wise though,” he adds.

“ Neglecting your oral health can increase both the complexity of the problem and cost of the treatment you must eventually have.”

The BDA highlights that some people do not have to pay for NHS treatment, these include include people who are on income support, those under 19 and receiving full-time education, and pregnant women or those who have or had a baby in the previous 12 months.

James Glover from Simplyhealth says: "With 22% of people that have visited the dentist receiving bills of over £300, and 44% of these paying for the treatment by credit card, it is vital that individuals plan how to cover these costs. Dental plans and cash plans are a great way of helping individuals and families to spread the cost of visiting the dentist, ensuring dental care is affordable even when finances don't allow."