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Tuesday 25th October 2016

Young Scots have bad teeth

16th April 2007

Scottish children have the worst teeth in the UK, says a new study.

The British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry found that nearly half of all five-year-olds north of the border had decayed, filled or missing teeth.  Experts blame poor standards of living as well as diet and general lifestyle factors for the state of children’s teeth in Scotland.  Many parents don’t register their children with a dentist which has a massive impact on oral health.  Less than 10 per cent of Scottish five-year-olds had access to an NHS dentist.  The survey of 240,000 children found that 46 per cent of reception-aged school children in Scotland showed signs of decay compared with 39 per cent in England and Wales.  Children in Glasgow are most likely to suffer bad teeth, with those in Lanarkshire coming a close second. 

The study results have renewed calls for the fluoridation of Scotland’s water.  Three years ago the Scottish Executive tried to pass legislation to add fluoride to water supplies but plans were abandoned amid widespread public opposition.  However, the British Dental Association for Scotland said it supported calls for fluoride to be introduced into the country's water supply.  In the West Midlands, where a fluoridation programme is in operation, less than a third of young children have decayed teeth.

The Scottish Executive says its tooth brushing schemes and education programmes in the country’s nurseries and primary schools were working and that the figures showed a slight improvement on previous studies.


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