The SNP has welcomed new figures that show there has been a 65.4 per cent increase in dental nurses and a 171.5% increase in dental technicians.
The increase in staffing levels is believed to be partially responsible for the improvement in the dental health of Scottish children over the past 8 years. In the year 2005/06, just over half of Scottish schoolchilren in Year 1 showed no signs of dental decay, however by the year 2011/12, over 2/3 of children in Year 1 were free of dental decay.
The Scottish Government has also promoted a supervised tooth-brushing programme amongst nursery age children, in order to teach young children good dental hygiene habits that will last a lifetime. Currently some 90,000 young children are participating in the scheme. The Government has also directed the distribution of toothpaste and brushes during the first year of life at nursery, and in the first year of primary school.
SNP MSP Bob Doris said:
"The SNP is committed to improving the health of people living in Scotland and these fantastic statistics show the SNP is delivering for people across the country.
"Since the SNP came to power, the number of dental nurses and technicians has increased by 65.4% and 171.5% respectively.
"There are now far more dental nurses and technicians than under the previous Labour administration – and we all know how bad the dentistry situation was then.
"We now have the situation where areas which had large waiting lists for NHS dental treatment under Labour now are in a position where those waiting lists are now either extremely small or in some cases have been cleared.
"This adds to figures out last year that showed record numbers of primary one children have no obvious signs of decay, and for the first time, all 14 NHS Boards exceeded the target - that 60 per cent should have no obvious signs of decay.
"It is extremely important that we continue this work in improving the nation's dental health.
"These figures are definitely something to smile about and the SNP will continue to ensure the provision of first-rate dental services.”