child decayOver two thirds (71%) of primary one children have no obvious signs of decay, the National Dental Inspection Programme says.

This is a large improvement since 2003 when 45% of children showed no obvious signs of decay.

‘We welcome that the proportion of children with no obvious decay experience has increased, a Scottish Government spokesperson said.

‘We want to see these positive trends continue by tackling health inequalities in children.

‘This is why children living in our most deprived areas are entitled to receive fluoride varnish applications at nursery or school.

‘We’ve also extended the Childsmile Programme to all nursery and primary one and two children in the most deprived communities.’

Oral health inequalities

There are stark differences between the most and least deprived communities across Scotland, the report shows.

The percentage of primary one children free from decay is 30% lower in more deprived areas than more affluent areas.

That is a 3% increase since 2016, leading BDA Scotland to call for faster progress on oral health inequalities.

‘Dentists have applauded the progress secured through Childsmile,’ Robert Donald, chair of the BDA’s Scottish Council, said.

‘But this data is a stark reminder that the Scottish Government cannot rest on its laurels.

‘Scotland’s oral health gap had shown signs of closing, and we must ensure hard-won progress is not undone.

‘Ministers now need to go further and faster to tackle the scandal of these deep and persistent health inequalities.’