There is a long held view of the traditional family GP widely trusted within the community, always on hand to dish out advice. But new research reveals that dentists are winning the race for trust, as 88 per cent of people surveyed in a new poll3 confirmed that they have a very high degree of trust in their dentist, even greater than in their doctor.
The poll, conducted by Bray Leino, also revealed twice as many people
(19.7 per cent) value their relationship with their dentist over their
doctor (9.9 per cent). The level of trust is reflected in the amount of
people following advice from their dentist, with more than three in four
people (76.4 per cent) deciding how often they went for a check-up
based on when their dentist recommended.
It isn't all good news, as the research also points to almost two in
every three people not visiting the dentist for at least three years,
while more than one in four people (27 per cent) who don't visit their
dentist cite fear as the reason for not doing so.
Psychologist Emma Kenny explained: "Trust underpins much of our
motivation in life; when we feel that someone is on our side and has our
best interests at heart it makes sense that we will act in accordance
with their suggestions.
"Dentists are such important people in our lives for the whole of our
lives, ensuring that our dental health and hygiene remain at a high
level and encouraging good levels of self-esteem. It's great to see how
such important health professionals figure in the nation's opinion."
Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter
OBE, discussed the impact of the research on current attitudes towards
Dr Carter said: "The research is very encouraging. The excellent
relationship that clearly exists between the patient and the dentist
will hopefully result in oral health improvements throughout
"There is a culture developing where patients will only visit their
doctor when there is a problem. It is reassuring to see so many people
actively choosing to seek preventive measures rather than simply waiting
for something to go wrong. Those who still choose not to visit their
dentist may do so for genuine reasons, and fear certainly is one, but
advances in technology and the number of nervous patients means more
provisions than ever before are available to treat them.
"The more the patient trusts their dentist, the more likely it is they
will brush their teeth for two minutes twice a day using a fluoride
toothpaste, cut down on how often they have sugary foods and drinks and,
as the survey suggests, the more likely they are to visit their dentist
regularly, as often as they recommend. And it doesn't stop with advice.
"An excellent level of trust and communication will mean both the
patient and the dentist would be happier discussing treatments that
aren't quite as basic. If you trust your dentist, then even as purse
strings continue to tighten, you're more likely to follow their advice
if they recommend a course of orthodontic or cosmetic treatment. The key
is visiting as often as they recommend."