It has been revealed that 1 in 3 people in the UK are still struggling to find an NHS dentist, according to new research from Simplyhealth.

Simplyhealth's Annual Dental Survey has revealed that alarmingly just over a third of Brits (35%) struggled to find an NHS dentist over the last year, which has increased from 23% at the same time in 2008.

Perhaps more shocking is the fact that this figure soars in certain areas of the UK, with over half of the people in Plymouth finding it difficult to get an NHS dentist, closely followed by those in Southampton and Manchester, where 45% and 43% have struggled.

The severity of the situation this year has been heightened by the economic downturn, as almost half of people across the UK have put off visiting the dentist because they are too worried about how much it will cost, compared with just 19% last year.

It seems the credit crunch has hit the hardest in the capital, with more than half of Londoners putting off dental checks due to money worries, although it is a pattern being replicated across the UK.

Commenting on the problem, Abby Bowman from Simplyhealth said: The NHS dental contracts introduced three years ago were supposed to give more people access to dentists, but as our research shows this is only getting worse. As the economic downturn continues, we may see more people turn to Healthplans that help people prepare for unexpected health problems and spread the cost of dental bills.

Have you ever struggled to find an NHS dentist?

YES NO TOTAL UK 35% 64% Liverpool 21% 79% Norwich 27% 73% Nottingham 37% 63% Birmingham 33% 67% Leeds 38% 62% Newcastle 19% 81% Edinburgh 36% 64% Plymouth 51% 49% Sheffield 32% 68% Southampton 45% 55% Brighton 30% 70% Belfast 16% 84% Manchester 43% 57% Bristol 35% 65% London 35% 65% Glasgow 22% 78% Cardiff 39% 61%

Have you put off visiting the dentist because you are too worried about how much it will cost?

YES NO TOTAL UK 43% 57% Belfast 37% 63% Edinburgh 34% 66% Leeds 35% 65% Glasgow 38% 62% Brighton 32% 68% Sheffield 32% 68% Southampton 41% 59% Birmingham 43% 57% Bristol 40% 60% Cardiff 45% 55% London 54% 46% Manchester 41% 59% Newcastle 32% 68% Nottingham 40% 60% Liverpool 43% 57% Plymouth 41% 59% Norwich 47% 53%

The research was carried out for Simplyhealth by Opinion Matters, an independent market research organisation. The survey of consumers took place between 19 and 23 February 2009 among a nationally representative sample of 1,706 UK adults aged over 16. The survey of UK companies was carried out between 24 February and 2 March 2009 among a nationally representative sample of 255 HR Managers, HR Directors and HR Decision Makers .