20 September 2005


Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has expressed his dismay at the findings of the National Dental Inspection Programme of Scotland in Primary 1 children throughout Scotland during the school year 2003/2004.

Commenting on the report, Mr Stevenson said:

“The aim of the report was to determine the current level of obvious tooth decay experience in Primary 1 children in Scotland and to therefore observe the dental health trend over time. The target set by the Scottish Executive in 1999 was that at least 60% of Scottish 5 year olds will have no obvious decay experience by 2010. However, currently only 51% of Scottish 5 year olds fall into this category therefore the Scottish Executive has fallen short of its target.

“In overall terms, there has only been a small improvement in the level of dental health in Primary 1 children. But there are still too many of these chuildren with decay experience. Another problem is the fact that dental inequalities continue to persist, with children from socially deprived backgrounds having high levels of decay.

“Parents need to ensure that their children are given regular routine dental check ups so that any problems can be discovered early on so that corrective action can be taken immediately. As we all know, prevention is better than cure and it is therefore vital that our youngsters are very familiar with a good dental hygiene routine from the earliest age.

“The lack of accessible NHS dentistry provision in the North-east is certainly not helping this situation.

“There is a lot more work to be done in this area of dental care for our youngsters. Children need to have a good oral hygiene routine which needs to be encouraged by parents, schools, healthcare professionals and others. Action needs to be taken to ensure that the unacceptably poor levels of dental health endured by Scottish children is dramatically reduced at the earliest opprtunity.”

Stewart Stevenson
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