<Previous : Next>
Why is this National Indicator important?
Dental health is widely used as an 'indicative measure' of children's general health. This is because it reflects a key 'outcome' of good parental care during the pre-school period. Dental decay is almost totally preventable but is the single most common reason to admit children to hospital in Scotland and accounts for significant pain and discomfort to the child and to absence from school.
What will influence this National Indicator?
We can reduce dental disease among children by getting them to eat and drink less sugary food, less often. In addition, the use of fluoride will strengthen the tooth surface and increase its resistance to attack. Fluoride can be added to the tooth surface by using fluoride toothpaste and by the application of fluoride varnish. If children see their dentist for regular check-ups, there is a better chance that they will avoid dental disease.
What is the Government's role?
More than 90,000 nursery school children currently take part in supervised tooth-brushing programmes. The Government has also directed the distribution of toothpaste and brushes during the first year of life at nursery, and in the first year of primary school. Both of these initiatives are likely to have an influence on the levels of dental decay at P1; as will the use of fluoride varnish to children's teeth in selected areas. This needs to be pursued jointly by the NHS and local authorities.
The supervised tooth brushing schemes have been extended to primary schools, where there is a particular need to meet the target for primary 7 children. The improvement in oral health will be further enhanced by the 'Childsmile' school-based preventive dental service, which was launched in December 2007. The Childsmile programmes (core, nursery, school and practice) will continue even after the target has been met, recognising the need to maintain our efforts to tackle the ongoing problem that affects children, particularly those living in deprived areas."
How are we performing?
Over the past decade there has been an increasing trend in percentage of five year olds with no obvious dental decay. Latest figures for school year 2009/10 show 64% of Scottish 5 year olds with no obvious decay experience. This is an improvement compared with 57.7% in 2007/08.
Sources: 1987/88-1999/00 SHBDEP (Scottish Health Boards' Dental Epidemiological Programme); 2002/03-2009/10 NDIP (National Dental Inspection Programme of Scotland)
View data on dental disease
This evaluation is based on: any difference within +/- 1.0 percentage points of the previous inspection suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. An increase of 1.0 percentage points or more suggests the position is improving; whereas a decrease of 1.0 percentage points or more suggests the position is worsening.
For information on general methodological approach, please click here.
Scotland Performs Technical Note
Statistics Topic Page
Who are our partners?
Related Strategic Objectives