Figures shed light on the state of Australia's dental health

If you've ever postponed going to the dentist because you're worried about the cost then it seems you're not alone - new figures show that only 49 per cent of people over the age of 15 have visited the dentist in the past 12 months.

Those between the ages of 25 and 34 were found to be the worst offenders - 31 per cent of them said cost had put them off receiving a dental check-up over the last year. The figure stood at just five per cent for those over the age of 75.

Commenting on the data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), director of health statistics Louise Gates suggested that people also seem to be waiting longer before making an appointment.

"Of those who had seen a dental professional for urgent care in the previous 12 months, 20 per cent were seen within four hours, while 43 per cent waited two or more days between making the appointment and seeing the dental professional," she noted.

Out of the people who had visited a dentist, around 90 per cent had been to a private dental clinic most recently, while nine per cent had been to a public dental clinic.

It is important to regularly visit the dentist for a number of reasons - they can help identify early stages of decay and disease, meaning they can be treated as soon as possible. Allowing problems to worsen can lead to other areas of the mouth becoming infected and you might even begin to feel unwell.

Dentists are trained to spot all sorts of oral problems, ranging from gum diseases such as gingivitis to cavities and even oral cancer.

It is usually recommended that you visit the dentist twice a year, but for those with more serious issues, trips could be more frequent. Your dentist will advise you how often you should be having a check-up.

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