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Health of Scotland’s population - Dental Health

Dental Health


Natural teeth prevalence adultsIn 2013, nine in ten adults had some natural teeth, with men significantly more likely than women to report having at least some (92%, compared with 88%).  Although the Scottish Government’s target that 90% of all adults living in Scotland would possess some natural teeth by 2010 was met overall, the proportion for women remained below the target level.

The proportion of 16 to 64 year olds with no natural teeth has decreased since 1995 (11%), and has remained at around 4% since 2008. In line with earlier years, in 2013, natural teeth prevalence decreased with age, with just over half (55%) of adults aged over 75 reporting some natural teeth. Older men were significantly more likely than older women to have some natural teeth (64% of those aged 75 and over, compared with 49% of women of the same age).

Source: Scottish Health Survey (SHeS)

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Dental decay is almost totally preventable, but is the single most common reason to admit children to hospital in Scotland. Dental health is also 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. Children in Scotland have substantially higher levels of recorded decay than other European countries.

Over the past decade there has been an increasing trend in the percentage of Primary 1 children with no obvious decay experience. Latest figures for school year 2014, published by Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland, show that more than two thirds (68%) of Scottish children in Primary 1 have no obvious dental decay.

Trends in the proportion of P1 children with no obvious decay experience














View chart data

Source: National Dental Inspection Programme (NDIP), Scottish Health Boards' Dental Epidemiological Programme (SHBDEP)

The Scottish Government has also established a National Indicator to improve children's dental health, measured by the proportion of children in Primary 1 with no signs of tooth decay.

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