Dental costs mean more Aussies are neglecting their teeth

ONE in five people experiencing problems with their teeth either put off seeing a dentist or did not go at all in the past year because of the costs involved, an Australian Bureau of Statistics survey has revealed.

The 2011-12 Patient Experience survey revealed people aged 25 to 34 were the most likely (31%) to avoid visiting a dentist due to cost factors.

This compared with just 5% of people aged 75 years and over.

Overall the figures showed 49% of all Australians aged 15 and over visited a dental professional in the past 12 months.

Of that number 90% went to a private dental clinic on their most recent visit, while 9% visited a public dental clinic.

ABS director of health statistics Louise Gates said the survey collected information on access and barriers to a range of health care services, including general practitioners, dental professionals and medical specialists.

The survey showed 81% of people over the age of 15 (14.6 million) visited a GP at least once in the past 12 months.