In Switzerland dentists are expensive. Brushing and an occasional trip to the dental hygienist on the other hand is a relatively inexpensive way to dodge those costly trips. Despite this many still seem to avoid it, according to a report published this week.
In 2012, more than half of the population (51%) visited a dental hygienist at least once a year in Switzerland, up from 37% in 2002. Most of this overall increase was driven by those over 64. The percentage of this group getting a professional clean at least once a year rose from 30% to 53% over the same ten year period.
The chance of an annual trip to a hygienist increased with education. 60% of those with tertiary education paid a visit in 2012 compared to only 39% of those with only high school education. Switzerland’s different linguistic groups showed varying enthusiasm for an annual professional tooth clean. Italian speakers (57%) led the way, followed by German speakers (53%) and French speakers (46%). Gender also played a role. More of the overall 63% of those who had been in the last 12 months were women. 65% of women compared to 61% of men had been.
More important than an occasional professional scrub is daily mouth hygiene. The report recommends cleaning after every meal, however only 27% reported doing so. 54% said they brushed twice a day, 17% once a day and around 2% less than once.
In 2012, the number not brushing their teeth every day was far lower among women (<1%) than men (3%). 3% is around 1 in 30. Those not brushing were younger. The highest rate was among those aged between 15 and 34.
While regular brushing and an occasional trip to the hygienist is on the rise, it doesn’t appear to be going on behind everyone’s lips. Somewhat surprising given it’s a great way to avoid both toothache and a substantial financial headache – Switzerland’s standard health cover does not include dentist visits.