Disturbing new figures have revealed that half of Britons had not had any dental treatment for two years because they cannot gain access to an NHS dentist.
Statistics obtained by the Conservatives show that more than 23.1 million people have not had any NHS dental care in the last 24 months, an increase of four per cent since the introduction of the controversial new dentist's contract in 2006.
As a result, there has been a six per cent rise in the number of people being admitted to hospital emergency departments because of the poor state of their teeth.
Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley commented: "We know that there are people out there who are pulling out their own teeth because they can't find an NHS dentist.
"These shocking figures are proof that Labour can't negotiate a contract with NHS professionals. Some patients have no option but to take their problems to hospital A&E, a service which is already under great pressure."
Michael Summers, a spokesman for the Patients Association, agreed with Mr Lansley's sentiments, describing the situation as a "scandal".
"People tell us it is almost impossible to find an NHS dentist in many parts of the country," he revealed.
"So they either have to find the money to pay for private treatment or they go without check-ups and treatment for years on end."
Independent advice on private healthcare