Dental cover

12/09/2023

Getting access to a dentist when you need it

One in five people in the UK are not registered with a dentist. Over a third of those people, that shared this in a YouGov survey, are also not registered because they are unable to find an NHS dentist. The rapidly lowering number of NHS dentists means long waiting lists for treatment, struggling to register with an NHS dentist, and limited or lack of NHS dentists in certain areas of the UK.

Regular check ups and getting treatment quickly when needed, are vital to maintain good dental health. That is where dental cover can help; giving you quick access to dental care and treatments when you need them and bringing the costs down.

We have rounded up helpful guides on the benefits of regular dental visits, maintaining good oral hygiene, dental cover with top UK insurers, and the links between dental health and general health.

The importance of a regular check up

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Dental check ups should take place ideally once every 12 months. The NHS recommends a check up should take place at least every two years as a maximum, allowing the maximum if you have good teeth health. How can regular check ups prevent issues or more serious ones from developing? During a check up, the dentist will:

  • Check the condition of your teeth and gums
  • Flag anything of concern or any risk of further dental problems
  • Spot any potential mouth diseases in their early stages
  • Potential problems can be spotted such as gum disease, dental decay, or other oral health issues
  • Provide treatment plans that are inexpensive for potential problems
  • Fillings and other dental work can be checked they are securely in place and if anything requires fixing
  • Treatment can be recommended to fix any issues or prevent infections

The importance of regular hygienist visits

The build up of plaque can cause potential cavities, gum issues, and eventually more serious problems. That is why visiting a hygienist for a scale and polish along with a deep clean will help to remove stains and any hardened plaque that could lead to issues developing. Hygienists are also able to flag any potential problems in their early stages in between dentist check ups so they can be flagged with the dentist and treated early before a more serious issue develops. Also, hygienists can help with best practice on flossing, brushing, and the affect of diet on your teeth.

Health risks associated with dental and oral health

Poor hygiene and oral health: this can lead to inflamed gums which can lead to more serious issues including brain inflammation. This has been linked to an increased risk of dementia at an early age. The 2021 systematic review analysed 14 studies which identified a 28% increased risk of dementia for the patients with the greatest number of missing teeth.

Infection and inflammation of the gums: this can lead to bacteria travelling into your lungs via your bloodstream, potentially leading to respiratory issues. The risk of developing heart disease from bacteria entering your bloodstream can triple when you have gum disease.

How can dental cover help?

With approximately 6 million people in England that do not have an NHS dentist, gaining access to a dentist is becoming a serious issue and arguably a crisis. That is where dental cover, an optional extra with health insurance, can help massively. Dental cover supports you by providing huge support towards the cost of treatment for both NHS and private dentist. 

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We have provided a breakdown on the offerings of some of the top UK leading insurers that we are partnered with to give you a snapshot of what dental cover can provide for you.

AXA

AXA will cover 80% of dentists’ fees up to £400 each year, and their core dental cover includes:

  • Routine examinations and treatments including hygiene, check ups, and gum treatments
  • Repair treatment including fillings, crowns, bridges, and dentures
  • Mouth cancer cover
  • Hospital cash benefit
  • Choice of visiting any NHS or private dentist for accidents or emergencies

Vitality

Vitality’s dental cover includes:

  • Up to £100 for dental check-ups and hygienist fees
  • 80% of the cost, up to £400, for dental treatment
  • 100% of costs up to £2,500 for emergency dental treatment following an accident (maximum of two claims per plan year)

Bupa

Bupa dental cover includes:

  • Up to £150 per policy year for preventative dental treatment such as check-ups and scale and polish
  • Up to 75% of your restorative dental treatment costs up to £700 per policy year
  • Up to 20% discount on general dental treatment when you use a dental practice in the Bupa network

What else does a health insurance policy include?

Private health insurance can be really flexible to meet your needs. It's is made up of core cover, which comes as standard, and optional extras that can enhance your cover. These often include dental, optical, mental health, and therapies cover. Core cover will often include the following:

  • In-patient cover: for when you are admitted to hospital and need to stay over night, including accommodation costs, fees, and charges for tests.
  • Day-patient cover: cover the same as in-patient cover but this is for when you are discharged the same day.
  • Out-patient cover: for when you visit a hospital and go home the same day, and includes the costs of consultations, diagnostics, and some minor procedures and may include physiotherapy.
  • Cancer cover: most policies will include cancer cover as standard.
  • Digital GPs and health support: this allows quick access from your home with GPs and medical professionals when you need it.

For more guidance on why you need health insurance check out our blog on this topic. Check out our blog on the difference between individual and family health insurance plans to help work out the policy that you need.

Preventative measures for good oral hygiene

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Keeping up with daily cleaning and a diet low in sugar and anything acidic are essential preventative measures in order to keep good oral hygiene and teeth health. We’ve rounded up some top tips below:

  • Brushing your teeth: it is important to brush twice a day for two minutes and to use a fluoride toothpaste. Make sure you don’t brush straight after eating as this can damage the enamel; try to leave up to an hour before brushing.
  • Floss: brushing can only remove so much, and it is important to floss daily to remove any food or plaque that has become stuck. Flossing helps to prevent plaque and tartar build up which can lead to gum disease and cavities.
  • Drinking more water: it is best to avoid sugary drinks to reduce damage from sugar and keep caffeinated drinks to a minimum to limit staining. The more water the better as this causes no damage and where it contains fluoride can be a help too. Find more tips on keeping hydrated in our healthy and hydrated
  • Snacks: if you have had something high in sugar to eat or drink then having something to help counteract the damage slightly is best until you can brush your teeth. A small portion of cheese or apple is great for this. For healthy snack ideas check out our healthy eating

 

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