New figures confirm dental health gap between children from poor and affluent backgrounds in Scotland

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New figures show that there is still a gap in standards of oral health between children from poor and affluent backgrounds in Scotland. Although there have been improvements, rates of decay are still higher in children from less wealthy families.

Statistics obtained as part of the National Dental Inspection Programme and published by Information Services Division Scotland show that 65.6 percent of P7 children in deprived areas of Scotland were free from signs of decay compared to 86.5 percent of children from the most affluent areas. Rates of decay were highest in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, with Glasgow boasting the unenviable record of being home to 56 percent of Scotland’s poorest areas.

Despite the gap, there has been a significant improvement in standards of oral health in Scotland in the last 12 years. In 2005, just 53 percent of children had no signs of decay. That figure has now increased to 77 percent. The number of decayed teeth per child has also fallen from 1.29 in 2005 to 0.49 in 2017.

Shona Robinson, health secretary, said that the new statistics confirm continued improvement in children’s dental health and underline the success of the country’s Childsmile campaign.

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