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Fewer people going to the dentist in Brighton and Hove
Thousands of adults and children in Brighton and Hove are putting their health at risk because they are not seeing a dentist regularly.
Latest figuresreveal 145,993 people in the city saw an NHS dentist in the two years leading up to June this year, compared to 154,846 in the two years before March 2006.
This was when a new charging system was introduced, which led to large numbers of dentists leaving the NHS, making it more difficult for people to get an appointment.
New practices have been set up in the city since and services expanded in a bid to increase the number of people getting treatment.
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People coming forward had been rising steadily but have fallen again in recent months.
The exact reason for this is not known but one of the reasons is believed to be because people are struggling financially and may feel they cannot afford it.
People are advised to speak to their dentist about charges and payment schemes.
Those on benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance and income support are entitled to free treatment and those on low income are also entitled to get help with payments.
Health bosses say regular dental checks are vital, as routine visits can prevent or pick up on cavities, gum disease and mouth cancer.
In East Sussex the number of people using a dentist rose from 288,136 to 296,221 and in West Sussex it increased from 420,767 to 434,360.
A spokesman for NHS England, which is responsible for making sure there are enough dentists available in the city, said: “NHS England is working on increasing the number of dental practices in the Brighton and Hove area.
“However, there are currently 23 practices in Brighton and Hove accepting new patients.”
People can call the helpline on 0300 1000 899 to find their nearest NHS dentist.
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