Britain is facing a bad teeth epidemic, and the Dentist Industry Watchdog, InterDent, has placed the blame firmly at the feet of dentists.
"They're very expensive," said Ian Sizer, Press Officer for InterDent. "In a recent survey, people with toothache would rather be punched in the face in the hope of dislodging the tooth, than visit the dentist."
There are schemes and plans available to minimise the cost of going to the dentist, but many people don't think of their teeth unless they hurt, and view these plans as a waste of money.
"A lot of them cost more than a drug habit," said Sizer. "And to be fair, it's probably cheaper to have a meth addiction than pay for one. At least with a meth addiction you don't have any teeth to worry about."
InterDent would like a change in the way that dentists operate their businesses to encourage more people to have healthy teeth.
"Currently, dentists insist on signing people up to regular check-ups," said Sizer. "There appears to be no consistency in how often these are. They range from monthly to annually, with every possible duration in between."
On top of this, there are additional costs that are not covered by dental plans, such as hygienists, which dentists insist are a vital part of any check-up.
Denis Taal defended his profession.
"Being a dentist isn't all about having a few nice houses, a holiday home in the Algave and a brand new BMW every six months," he said. "Although, I admit it's a major attraction. No. It's about maintaining the nation's teeth. Different people have different requirements, and we adjust plans accordingly. For instance, if somebody looks fairly wealthy, they can probably do a monthly check-up, whereas if it looks like they will default, we'll do it yearly, and sign them up to a monthly direct debit to make sure they can't escape. And to spread the payment, of course."
InterDent want the dentist to be like other health services, visited as and when an individual deems it necessary.
"If I've got toothache," said Sizer. "I want to be able to choose the dentist I visit, based on price, location, etc. As I would tyres for my car. I wouldn't expect the tyre firm to want to have a quick look at my tyres every month and charge me twenty quid for the privilege. Even if it would spot balding before it became dangerous."
Dentists have offered to show Sizer the difference between a good dentist and a punch in the jaw.
"Just for comparison," said Taal.