Scottish kids' teeth 'better than ever'

Scottish children's dental health scored better than ever before in a report by the National Dental Inspection Programme.

The agency found that 36.4% of 11-year-old pupils have signs of tooth decay, beating the Scottish government's goal of 40%.

The score was an improvement over a rate of 40.9% in 2006 and 47.1% in 2005. As a result, Scotland no longer compares unfavorably in this measure to the neighboring countries of England and Wales.

In a 2004-2005 survey by the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry, Scottish 11-year-olds had the highest mean number of decayed, missing, and filled teeth (DMFT) at 1.29, while Welsh 11-year-olds had 1.09 and English 11-year-olds 0.64. The mean DMFT in Scotland has now declined to 0.88, the report found.

The report credited government programs that are encouraging parents to register their children with National Health Service dentists and pay more attention to oral health in general.

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