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Children’s dental health improvements


Children's dental health in Scotland has never been better, with almost 70 per cent of primary seven children having no obvious sign of tooth decay.

Figures recently released as part of a report by the National Dental Inspection Programme, show that for the first time all NHS boards have met the Scottish Government target for 60 per cent of primary sevens to have no obvious signs of tooth decay.

This is an overall increase across Scotland of almost six per cent on 2009.

Figures released in 2010 also show that 64 per cent of primary one children have no obvious sign of decay, the highest ever percentage.

Dental registration figures show that as of 30 September 2011, almost four million people across Scotland were registered with an NHS dentist - 73 per cent (3.1 million) of adults, and 86 per cent (894,000) of children.

Public Health Minister, Michael Matheson added (sound clip available):

"It is fantastic news that our primary seven children in Scotland have the best dental health since records began, and for the first time, all 14 NHS Boards have exceeded the target - that 60 per cent should have no obvious signs of decay.

"This is tremendous progress and is a sign that we are reaping the reward of our significant investment in children's dentistry. However, it is important to make sure that we maintain this good oral health record over Christmas and New Year, and as we move into 2012.

"That's why we are continuing to invest in childhood dental health, through programmes such as Childsmile, which emphasises the importance of tooth brushing and helps parents establish a healthy diet from the earliest stage.

"Through the Childsmile programme, 94 per cent of all nursery schools and 95 per cent of primary schools in the most deprived areas have taught children how to brush their teeth properly.

"I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate parents for all their efforts as well as thanking the teachers and nursery staff who help with the Childsmile tooth brushing programme."

To coincide with the release of the figures, Scotland's Chief Dental Officer, Margie Taylor, has given her dental health advice for parents as children start to eat their Christmas selection boxes.

She is encouraging parents to ensure children keep sweets until mealtimes as much as possible, and to make sure that teeth are brushed morning and night with fluoride toothpaste.

Chief Dental Officer, Margie Taylor said: "We know that over the festive period we can sometimes overindulge in chocolates and sugary treats.

"Not eating sugary snacks between meals can help to protect your children's teeth from decay. And make sure you keep to your regular routine of brushing your teeth morning and night over the festive period - this can play an important role in helping to keep you and your children's teeth healthy."