NHS Dental Registration Reaches Record Level
21 June 2016, 11:15
The number of people registered with an NHS dentist has reached record levels.
According to new figures, 4.9 million people - 91% of the population - were registered as of March 31, up from 89% in 2015 and 52% in 2007.
The statistics also show 3.5 million people (72% of those registered) have seen an NHS dentist in the past two years, up from 2.5 million (99%) in 2007.
A total of 94% of children are registered and, for the first time, there is no difference in registrations between children living in the most and least deprived areas.
For adults, 92% of people in the most deprived areas were registered, with 85% registered in the least deprived.
The rise follows rule changes for registrations.
Prior to April 2006, patient registration lapsed and the patient became de-registered with the dental practice after a period of 15 months if the patient had not attended in that time.
This has changed in the intervening years until April 2010 when "lifetime registration'' was introduced.
Children are more likely than adults to have seen an NHS dentist within the last two years, with the figures at 85% and 69% respectively.
Those from the most-deprived areas were less likely to see their dentist within the last two years than those from the least-deprived areas.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: "It's very encouraging to see that there is no longer a deprivation gap in dental registrations for children.
"Good oral health is something that everyone should be able to benefit from, regardless of their background or life circumstances.
"The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that everybody who wants access to NHS dental services can receive it.
"We recognise that registration is only one part of the picture and we will continue to work to encourage people to attend their dentist on a regular basis, particularly in more deprived areas where attendance has historically been lower.''