A DAMNING report has been released concerning the state of dentistry in the UK.

Dental care provider mydentist released their Great British Oral Health Report, which surveyed more than 2,000 adults from across the country to assess dental outcomes.

The results are cause for concern.

Among the report findings were that 22% of people in the North West have been unable to register for a routine check-up with an NHS dentist in the last year, compared to the national average of 14%.

This means that 64% of people in the North West find it harder to see an NHS dentist now than they did 10 years ago.

Neil Carmichael, Chair of the Association of Dental Groups said: “Last year the NHS lost 137 dentists in the North West region. A perfect storm of a broken NHS contract and stressful working conditions in the pandemic means that across the whole of England dentists are leaving NHS work.”

And Mr Carmichael said that within the North West, South Cumbria was particularly under-served.

He said: “Rural and coastal communities suffer most – Morecambe Bay CCG has the second lowest number of NHS dentists (49) per 100,000 population in the North West.

“Without long term workforce planning by Government access to NHS dental appointments is just set to get worse.”

An estimated ten million people in the UK are currently waiting for routine dental treatment and 19 million appointments have been missed during the pandemic, according to the British Dental Association.

The report states: “Millions of patients are struggling to access NHS dentistry, there is a growing gulf between the North and South of the country, and funding pressures and an acute shortage of NHS dentists mean hundreds of dental practices may have to close in the years ahead.”

The gap between rich and poor is also widening. In 2008, the proportion of children with dental decay was 2.9x higher in the most deprived than the least deprived areas. In 2019, this increased by a third to be 3.8x higher.