Record number of Scots registered with NHS dentist

Record number of Scots registered with NHS dentist

A record number of people in Scotland are registered with an NHS dentist, according to the latest figures. A total of 5.2 million people were signed up as at 30 September 2019. The figure represents 95.7% of the Scottish population, and is an increase of 2.3 percentage points on the previous year. Registration rates were similar for children and adults (94.3% and 96%).

The Scottish government said the figures were "very encouraging". Scotland’s Public Health Minister, Joe FitzPatrick, urged people "to ensure they take regular advantage of their right to a free dental check". He added: "Substantial investment by the Scottish government, along with actions taken by NHS boards, means that nearly twice as many people were registered for NHS dental services at September 2019 than was the case in September 2007. Improving people’s dental health can contribute greatly to wellbeing, but they need to be able to access NHS dental services - having your teeth actually checked is key."

Chair of the BDA’s Scottish Council, Robert Donald, countered saying: "Being on the register is meaningless if patients aren’t making it to their dentist. Behind the spin is a large and growing gulf in attendance between rich and poor. Scotland’s most deprived communities face major oral health challenges, yet there is little energy to bridge this divide. When patients bottle up problems we all pay the price. The Scottish Government could save patients pain and our NHS a fortune by encouraging regular check-ups."

Main Points from report: Dental Statistics - NHS Registration and Participation, Statistics up to 30 September 2019, published 21 January 2020 by Information Services Division, NHS Scotland


  • 95.7%of the Scottish populationof 5.4 millionwereregistered with an NHS dentistas at 30 September 2019.
  • Registration rates were similar for children and adults (94.3% and 96.0% respectively).
  • 99.3% of adults living in the most deprived areas wereregistered with an NHS dentist compared to 90.2% in the least deprived areas.
  • Registration rates forchildren living in the mostdeprived areas were similar to the rates for those living in theleast deprived areas.

Contact with a Dentist (Participation)

  • As at 30 September 2019, 7 out of 10registeredpatients (3.6 million)had seen an NHS dentist within the last two years.
  • Children are more likely than adults to have seen an NHS dentist within the last two years (83.7% compared to 65.4%).
  • Children and adults from the most deprived areas are less likely to have seen their dentist within the last two years than those from the least deprived areas (79.0% compared to 88.8%of childrenand 60.8% compared to 71.5% of adults)

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