ONE in four adults – amounting to 760,000 people – is now going to the dentist less often than three years ago because of cuts in benefits.
It is blamed on cuts amounting to €100m a year in tax relief, the PRSI scheme and and in medical card benefits. This week's Budget failed to make any move to restore the benefits.
Fintan Hourihan, chief executive of the Irish Dental Association said that according to a Behaviours and Attitudes survey, among medical card holders the fall-off is even higher at 26pc, equating to 370,000 people.
He told the HSE Dental Surgeons Group annual seminar that "the dental health of the nation is reaching crisis proportions".
"It's essential that the HSE prioritises dental health and addresses the many shortcomings which exist in the system in its new Service Plan," he said."
Meanwhile, dental insurer DeCare Dental is reminding the public that there are a number of ways to claim back some dental treatment costs before this year's October 31 pay and file revenue deadline.