New figures from the Department of Social Protection show that while almost two million Irish people are entitled to a free dental examination under their PRSI dental benefit, less than 15 per cent of those availed of it last year.
The new president of the Irish Dental Association Peter Gannon has called on the government to change that, by way of dental vouchers being included with P60s, which are sent to every tax payer by the Revenue Commissioners via their employers every January.
"The very least people deserve for paying this tax is to receive their entitlement and we are calling on the government to facilitate that," Mr Gannon said.
It's estimated that four out of every five adults have some form of gum disease, yet surveys show 85 per cent of the population believe they have healthy teeth and gums.
The Irish Dental Association believes that if everyone who is entitled to an exam availed of it, the gum disease issue could be addressed.