Consultation launched on new strategy.
Dentists and their patients are being asked to give their views on a new plan to further improve Scotland's oral health.
Aileen Campbell, Minister for Public Health and Sport, met dentists and patients as she launched a consultation at East Craigs Dental Practice in Edinburgh today.
The consultation, announced by the First Minister in her Programme for Government, will help to inform the final Oral Health Plan for Scotland.
The consultation seeks views on the Scottish Government's proposals to reduce health inequalities, shift dental services to a more preventative approach – initially for children, and to meet the challenges of an ageing population.
The consultation runs for 12 weeks and can be completed online. A number of face-to-face sessions will also be carried out with dentists and patients around the country.
Ms Campbell said:
"There have been some significant improvements to oral health in recent years, particularly for children. We've seen a reduction in the level of tooth decay, increasing access to NHS dentists and the success of our Childsmile programme.
"Despite these successes it's vital that we continue to look forward and make further improvements. Tooth decay is almost always preventable so there is no reason for a child to have poor teeth. I particularly want us to try to close the deprivation gap which still exists for tooth decay.
"We need to have even more focus on prevention, and I want to hear dentists' and patients' views on how we can achieve that. Also, we have an ageing population, and we need to look at how to meet the challenge that creates."
David McColl, Vice Chair of the BDA's Scottish Dental Practice Committee, said:
"Getting prevention right is key to the future of oral health in Scotland. The British Dental Association is committed to engaging in this process, and we will be encouraging our members and the whole profession to do likewise."
Hew Mathewson, General Dental Practitioner and Owner of East Craigs Dental Practice:
"I am delighted to welcome the Minister for Public Health and Sport to East Craigs Dental Practice to launch the consultation on Scotland's Oral Health Plan. The consultation provides patients, dentists and other members of the dental team with an important opportunity to influence how oral health can be improved and care delivered in the future."
Scotland's Oral Health Plan, a consultation exercise on the future of oral health, can be viewed and completed here: www.gov.scot/oralhealthplan