'I don't smile anymore' - Oxfordshire woman 'in constant pain' hasn't seen NHS dentist in 7 years

  • Report by ITV News Meridian's Kara Digby

A woman from Oxfordshire says she doesn't smile anymore because she hates her mouth so much - having been unable to see an NHS dentist in seven years.

Sioux Eggby from Faringdon says she is in "constant pain" with her broken teeth and struggles to eat comfortably.

She says she needs several teeth out, root fillings and dentures, but lives on disability benefits so can't afford to go private.

Ms Eggby said: "I hate my mouth, it's a mess. I don't smile anymore at anyone because I just don't like showing them the mess that's my mouth."

She moved from Abingdon to Devon and couldn't see a dentist for the three years she lived there.

When she moved back to Oxfordshire, she explained she couldn't get back into her old dentist because it is now private.

  • Ms Eggby says she has "little stumps" left in her mouth

She's since called dentists in the area, describing it as a "nightmare" to find one that will accept her as a patient. Some say they are only taking new child patients, others are no longer NHS run.

To get by, Ms Eggby says she cleans her teeth as often as possible, using mouthwash and floss.

"I'm just lucky so far I haven't had an abscess which could happen, I suppose, as it's all open gum," she said.

The increase in demand for NHS dentistry has been described as "a national crisis" with the latest figures showing that only 37% of adults in Oxford saw an NHS-registered dentist in the last 12 months.

In Reading, 38% of adults had seen a dentist within the last year - while this figure stood at just 29.3% in Buckinghamshire.

The British Dental Association says around 11 million people are trying to find an NHS dentist.

Eddie Crouch, chair of the British Dental Association, said: "I think many of my colleagues have given up waiting for the significant reform that's actually needed to keep them working in the NHS...

"Demand is huge. We think about 11 million people at the moment are trying to get NHS care and that's probably going to get worse with the number of dentists that are leaving on a weekly basis from the NHS.

"We need a contract that's attractive to encourage that workforce to stay and at the moment we have a significant retention problem not only with dentists but other members of the dental team."

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