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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 April 2007, 23:07 GMT 00:07 UK
Scots children 'have worst teeth'
Despite the results, levels of decay are falling
Children in Scotland have the worst dental health in the UK, a study has found.

The British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry said almost half of all five-year-olds had decayed, filled or missing teeth.

However the results showed a slight improvement on previous studies.

Dentists blamed the figures on poor living standards and diets as well as parents failing to register their children with a dentist.

A survey of almost 240,000 children found that 46% of children in Scotland were suffering from decay by the time they started school compared with only 39% in England and Wales.

Glasgow is Scotland's worst offender with over half of children questioned suffering from decay.

Lanarkshire came in second with 50% followed by those in Ayrshire and Arran having 49%.

The figures show a small improvement for Scotland but there is clear evidence that mass fluoridation would help improve things
Professor Nigel Pitts
Report author

Children in Forth Valley were found to be least likely to suffer from poor dental health with only 32%.

The study also showed that less than one in 10 five-year-olds in Scotland had access to a NHS dentist.

The figures showed a gradual improvement since the survey was last conducted three years ago when 49% of toddlers in Scotland had decayed teeth.

That echoed the results of a National Dental Inspection Programme released in February which showed tooth decay among children was falling.

The executive said at the time that the statistics were proof that tooth brushing schemes and education programmes in Scotland's nurseries and primary schools were working.

'Political issue'

Dentists have blamed poor dental health on social deprivation and poor eating habits.

Parents have also been accused of not registering their children with dentists with the survey showing that only 9% of five-year-olds have access to an NHS dentist.

The results have renewed calls for fluoride to be added to Scottish water supplies.

In the West Midlands, less than a third of children have decay which some have put down to the fluoridation of the water.

Andrew Lamb, the British Dental Association's director for Scotland, said his organisation supported calls for fluoride to be introduced into the country's water supply.

In 2004, the Scottish Executive planned to add fluoride to the water supply but this was abandoned following huge opposition from the public.

Children's tooth decay on decline
08 Feb 07 |  Scotland
Mixed report on children's teeth
20 Jul 06 |  Scotland
Children brush up on dental care
15 Jun 06 |  Glasgow and West
Warning over 'baby teeth' decay
24 Nov 05 |  Scotland
Child tooth decay 'rampant'
15 Jun 04 |  Health

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