New research suggests text message reminders could ramp up dental attendance.
Research carried out by the BDA discovered that at least 3.5 million dental appointments are missed in England each year, and is a common problems across the whole of the health sector.
But a study from overseas has shown that text message reminders could be a solution to improve attendance rates.
In a recent trial, dentists in India who sent patients a text reminder found that four in every five people attended their appointment on time.
Although text messaging is used by many dental practices in the UK, it is not widespread and with an estimated 91% of adults in the UK owning a mobile phone it is the most ubiquitous for of communication.
While it remains to be seen whether the system would eradicate missed dental appointments in the UK, it is a solution that should be given further consideration, according to the chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter.
Dr Carter said 'At present, individual practices are responsible for how they communicate with their patients.
However with such a large number of people not attending dental appointments it's obvious better communication is needed.
'A text message is a very simple, effective, cost effective way of communicating in modern society. With so many mobile phones in use, it could be the answer to the problem'
The cost of NHS dental treatment allied with dental anxiety within the population, accounts for the reason three in every four people think twice about looking after their oral health.
With basic NHS charges due to increase on 1 April 2012, Dr Carter believes now more than ever patients need to be informed about how important their oral health is.
Dr Carter said While patients may have genuine reasons for not attending dental checkups, the foundation has previously reported on other factors, particularly financial constraints, influencing dental treatment checks.......more