4.5 million UK workers put off seeing a dentist because they don't have the time

13 February 2019 . United Kingdom

Bupa research has found that over 4.5 million workers have put off a visit to the dentist, because of time constraints.

  • Two million Brits haven’t been to the dentist in over 10 years
  • Cost of appointments and time off work are amongst top reasons to put it off
  • Bupa’s dental insurance can settle employee’s claims immediately, while practices open for extended hours
Dentist with customer

Despite employee dental cover being one of the most accessible work benefits, the study revealed that the top reasons for people avoiding the dentist are the cost of appointments, fear of the dentist, and a lack of time – including not being able to take time off work.

The research also found that over two million Brits have not been to the dentist for over 10 years, while 8.5 million are leaving it too long in between visits, waiting over two years between appointments. Meanwhile a third have never visited a hygienist – equating to more than 21.5 million people in the UK.

Last month Bupa unveiled its new dental insurance options for businesses, Bupa Dental Plan and Bupa Dental Choice. Both have been redesigned to cover more preventative treatments, which members typically use most, including routine examinations, hygienist appointments and x-rays.

It also includes Bupa’s ‘No Forms, No Fuss’ direct settlement process, a market-leading move which means that claims can be settled immediately, so customers do not have to pay upfront and claim back the costs.

Steve Gates, Director of Bupa Dental Insurance, said: “Our research shows there are a number of barriers stopping employees looking after their oral health. We’ve updated our dental insurance plans, making it easier for businesses to support their workforce and to accommodate busy employees.”

Bupa Dental Insurance can be used at any dentist. However, patients visiting a dentist within Bupa’s approved network – which includes many Bupa dental practices, as well as non-Bupa sites – will benefit from discounts off their dental treatment.

To support busy workers, over 300 Bupa practices are open for extended hours during the week, with nearly 200 seeing patients at the weekend. What’s more, many are located in prominent high street locations, meaning patients can visit without having to take time off work.

Steve Gates continues: “Bupa offers a range of options to access affordable dental treatments. While insurance can help further spread the cost, we’ve gone one step further by introducing our new direct settlement process. This means customers aren’t left out of pocket as patients don’t need to pay up front before claiming the cost back.”

Bupa overhauled its B2B dental insurance products after reviewing customer data. With over two thirds of our claims being for preventative care, the Bupa Dental Plan was launched to give members access to the services they were using most.

Dr. Neil Sikka, Chief Dental Officer for Bupa UK Insurance, explains: “All employers will want to keep their workforce in good shape, and there’s a well-established link between oral health and general health. As such it’s vital that we’re encouraging people to make regular visits to the dentist, as it can play a role maintaining their overall health.

“By covering preventative care we’re removing the cost barrier which previously put people off regular visits, giving workers and employers something to smile about.”

Notes to editor

  1. Bupa research has found that over 4.5 million workers have put off a visit to the dentist, because of time constraints - 4.5m figure is based on 14% of the working population (currently 32.39m people according to ONS)

The Bupa Dental Plan offers the most generous preventative cover in the market. Different levels of coverage are available, including those with Bupa’s new Preventative Care Promise which guarantees to cover the cost of preventative dental when used in a network of more than 300 practices.

Bupa Dental Choice provides a clear, itemised breakdown of the treatments and costs available, so employees can see exactly what they can claim for each time. A range of different levels of cover are available for each policy, giving companies the flexibility to find the right policy for their people.

Research carried out on 2,000 adults by Bupa Dental Care.

Both products can be used at any dentist in the UK and worldwide, including those within the Bupa Dental Insurance Network.

Most common factors preventing people from seeing a dentist:

Most common factors preventing people seeing dentist

About Bupa

Bupa's purpose is helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives and making a better world.

We are an international healthcare company serving over 31 million customers worldwide. With no shareholders, our customers are our focus. We reinvest profits into providing more and better healthcare for the benefit of current and future customers.

Health insurance accounts for 17.9m customers and contributes 72% of our revenue. In health provision, we operate clinics, dental centres and hospitals in some markets serving another 13.6m customers. We also care for around 20,000 residents in our aged care businesses in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Spain.

We directly employ around 84,000 people, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, Chile, Poland, New Zealand, Hong Kong SAR, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, the US, Middle East and Ireland. We also have associate businesses in Saudi Arabia and India.

For more information, visit www.bupa.com.