Statistics published by ISD Scotland show that 91 per cent of the population is registered with a dentist, a total of 4.85 million people. This is up from 89 per cent last year and from 52 per cent in 2007.
For the first time there is no difference in dentist registration rates between children living in the most and least deprived areas. 91 per cent of children in the most deprived communities are registered with an NHS dentist – the same rate for the least deprived. In March 2007, these figures were 52 per cent and 76 per cent respectively.
For adults, 92 per cent of people in the most deprived areas were registered, with 85 per cent registered in the least deprived.
Child tooth decay is falling in Scotland, with the National Dental Inspection Programme finding that in 2014 68 per cent of children had no obvious decay, up from 54 per cent in 2006.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “It’s very encouraging to see that there is no longer a deprivation gap in dental registrations for children. Good oral health is something that everyone should be able to benefit from, regardless of their background or life circumstances.
“The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that everybody who wants access to NHS dental services can receive it. Substantial investment by this government and actions by NHS Boards means that across Scotland 4.85 million people were registered for NHS dental services at September 2015 compared with 2.58 million at March 2007.
“We recognise that registration is only one part of the picture and we will continue to work to encourage people to attend their dentist on a regular basis, particularly in more deprived areas where attendance has historically been lower.
“Child tooth decay is falling in Scotland, but of course we should not be complacent. It’s important to brush regularly and avoid sugary snacks and drinks, particularly between meals.”