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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:-  29 May 2006

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More than a million ‘too scared’ to visit the dentist

A NATIONAL dental survey has found that over a million people nationwide are avoiding visiting the dentist because of a phobia.  The National Smile Month Survey sponsored by HealthSure, found that although treatment today is pain free, 1 in 5 people who don’t visit the dentist regularly are simply ‘too scared’.

The survey was conducted by the British Dental Health Foundation as part of National Smile Month (May 14 to June 13), which aims to encourage people to maintain good oral health for life. This can be done through a good oral healthcare routine and regular visits to the dentist.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Foundation, commented:- “Although the perception is that most people don’t visit the dentist because either they can’t afford it or they can’t find an NHS dentist, the reality is that fear is a far more common factor.  Our survey found that 22% of people who visit the dentist less frequently than they should do so because they suffer with dental phobia, and some of them never visit!  This is a real shame and completely unnecessary because, today, dentistry is totally pain free! In addition, many people find that asking around friends and family or looking through the local yellow pages will uncover a dentist who has experience of helping nervous patients. There really is a lot you can do, so don’t give up!”

One of the key aims of National Smile Month is to remind people of the importance of regular dental visits not just to guard against oral health conditions, but also a host of general health conditions too.

Dr Carter continued:- “A good oral health routine doesn’t only keep your mouth looking and feeling fresh. By preventing gum disease it can also guard against general health conditions like heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and low birth weight babies. In addition, your dentist can check for early signs of mouth cancer, a condition that kills one person every five hours in the UK but that has a good survival rate with early detection.  When you consider this you realise just how important it is to have regular check-ups with your dentist.”

Richard Sear, managing director of national healthcare cash plan provider, HealthSure, commented:- “It is a big surprise that so many people are still fearful of maintaining regular visits to the dentist.  However, with the survey finding that it just isn’t a priority for a large percentage of people, perhaps people need to be educated on its importance to our general wellbeing as well as to our oral health.”

This year’s National Smile Month campaign is using the theme ‘Feed Your Smile’ to remind people of the importance of eating a healthy, balanced diet and maintaining a good oral health routine including twice daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste and cutting down on the frequency of sugary foods and drinks.

If you would like to talk about your fear of the dentist with a qualified dental advisor you can call the British Dental Health Foundation Dental Helpline on 0845 063 1188 or go to:-

The Foundation also provides a FREE information leaflet called ‘My Fear of the Dentist’. If you would like to receive one of these please send a Stamped Addressed Envelope to: Fear Leaflet, British Dental Health Foundation, 2 East Union Street, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV22 6AJ.


INDEPENDANT travel amongst the over 60’s has soared according to the latest travel trends report from the Jamaica Tourist Board.  Rather than opt for the safety net of package holidays, 58% of older people in the UK are opting to book their travel and accommodation separately – a 16% increase in 3 months (42% in February 2006).

The report from the Jamaica Tourist Board, which questions 2,000 people in the UK each quarter, has been tracking the percentage of both package and independent travellers since October 2003. The latest figures, out this week reveal that the steadily increasing trend towards independent travel has taken its biggest jump.  Amongst other age groups, the preference for package still prevails but is gradually being caught up by the desire for a DIY holiday.

Elizabeth Fox, Regional Director for the Jamaica Tourist Board, said:- “The use of the internet for holiday bookings has really allowed people to tailor their own holidays, compare prices and choose a break, often off the beaten track.  Whilst the ease of package holidays is still, and will continue to be a huge market for Jamaica, we are noting an increase in the number of independent travellers. With daily flights and such a wide range of accommodation and activities, Jamaica is well-placed to welcome the visitor whose preference it is to go-it-alone.”

Independent Holidays

Age Feb 2006 May 2006
20-29 37 48
30-39 44 41
40-49 52 44
50-59 48 47
60+ 42 58

Package holidays

Age Feb 2006 May 2006
20-29 56 42
30-39 44 49
40-49 47 55
50-59 48 51
60+ 57 57

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