NHS dental attendance has dropped to record lows in deprived areas compared with more affluent communities.

The NHS Scotland Information Service Division shows 62.2% of adults in poor communities have seen a dentist in the last two years.

That compares with 72.7% of adults in more affluent neighbourhoods.

‘Year on year the Scottish Government has attempted to hide behind positive sounding registration numbers,’ Robert Donald, chair of the BDA’s Scottish Council, said.

‘But these figures are based on “lifetime registration”.

‘Nothing can conceal the gap that’s now opened between rich and poor when it comes to attendance.

‘The people missing out on appointments are precisely those we most need to see.’

Record registration rates

The Scottish Government has previously announced record NHS dentistry registration rates of 94.2%.

Despite this, attendance rates have remained stubbornly stagnant.

BDA Scotland believes the widening attendance gap between poorer and more affluent communities is deeply concerning.

‘Residents in Scotland’s most deprived communities are more than twice as likely to develop and die from oral cancer, and early detection is key,’ Mr Donald continued.

‘We’ve had enough of official press releases boasting about how many patients are getting onto our books.

‘The priority has to be a plan to get hard to reach patients people into our chairs.’