Decay on multiple teeth more likely among children in Dumfries & Galloway

Children in deprived areas are more likely to be affected. Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/PA Images

Young children in Dumfries and Galloway are more likely to experience decay on multiple teeth than those anywhere else in Scotland, according to new figures.

The National Dental Health Inspection report surveyed more than 16,000 primary one (P1) pupils, and found children in D&G with tooth decay had an average of 4.59 teeth affected, compared to the national average number of 3.94.

The figures also show children in Scotland's most deprived areas are more likely to have tooth decay than their more affluent peers.

In the least deprived areas, 86% had no obvious signs of decayed, missing or filled milk teeth, but this fell to 56% in the most deprived areas.

The mean number of decayed, missing or filled teeth was 0.45 for children in the most well-off areas but 1.92 in the poorest.

Despite the widening inequality, the oral health of Scotland's children in general continues to improve with more than two thirds (71%) having no obvious signs of decay.

This has been rising since 38% in 1994 and has increased two percentage points since 2016/17.

A total of 16,814 pupils were included in the survey between November 2017 and June 2018.

The Liberal Democrats said the Scottish Government needed to take further action to improve children's teeth.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman credited the Childsmile programme, which gives parents a free toothbrush, toothpaste and oral health education information for their child, for the improvement.