Nearly two thirds of people believe NHS dentistry will get worse or completely disappear within the next five years, new research has shown.
A survey by health plan provider HSA has revealed that 62 per cent of respondents have low expectations for the service, while just 12 per cent view dentistry as a government priority.
Suzanne Clarkson, a spokeswoman for HSA, said that the government had implemented a raft of changes earlier this year, designed to simplify costs and improve access to dentists.
"Despite this, consumers still aren't convinced that it's going to be around for the long term," she revealed.
"This makes it increasingly likely, therefore, that people will take the private route to access dental treatment."
Private dental treatment can be expensive but health plans can help to fund dental checkups and treatment, with some offering 100 per cent cash back on treatment.
"Although it can be more expensive, private dentistry has many benefits and opens patients up to a much wider range of treatment options – such as tooth coloured fillings in the back teeth," said Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation.
"With NHS dentistry on the back foot and many patients seemingly forced to go private, the foundation welcomes any means of helping people to meet the increasing costs," he added.