Scotland politics

Big increase in dentist registrations in Scotland

dentist patient Image copyright PA

The number of Scots registered with an NHS dentist has almost doubled over the past decade - and now stands at five million people.

NHS figures showed that 92.5% of the population was registered for dental care by 30 September last year.

That compared with just 51.1% in 2007.

But children and adults from the most deprived areas were still less likely to have seen their dentist within the past two years than those from the most affluent areas.

About 80% of children and 63% of adults from the poorest areas had visited the dentist in the previous 24 months, compared to about 90% of children and 74% of adults in the least deprived areas

Children were slightly more likely overall than adults to be signed up with a dentist, with registration rates of 93.8% and 92.2% respectively.

Youngsters were also more likely to have visited the dentist in the past two years, with 84.5% of children who were registered having attended for an appointment, compared to 67.4% of adults.

'Really encouraging'

Overall, about 70% of registered patients (3.5 million) had seen an NHS dentist within the past two years.

The statistics, which were published ahead of the Scottish government's new oral health improvement plan on Wednesday, showed that just 2.6 million people were registered with a dentist in September 2007.

Scotland's population is currently about 5.4 million.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: "These figures are really encouraging, showing an ongoing increase in patients registered for NHS dental services in Scotland.

"We're committed to ensuring that everybody who wants access to NHS dental services can receive it."

The report only includes data on patients registered with an NHS dentist, so does not include those registered with or treated by private dentists.