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Better oral health for Scotland

Ahead of the elections, our message to all parties in Scotland is clear.

Bridging the gap: tackling oral health inequalities

We’re facing unprecedented oral health challenges and to tackle them the next Government must:


  • Address the backlog of unmet dental care need
    Provide capital funding for ventilation to reduce fallow time and radically expand patient numbers. Ensure sufficient resources are available at a local level to reduce waiting times for paediatric extractions under general anaesthetic.
  • Promote prevention to help tackle oral health inequalities
    Reintroduce the Childsmile programme with additional support in areas with worst outcomes. Support NHS Boards to carry out fluoridation feasibility studies, along with investment to help facilitate its introduction where applicable.
  • Ensure NHS dentistry remains sustainable
    Make services sustainable and accessible to all those who need them, regardless of income. Move on from stop-gap COVID funding arrangements to provide a long-term funding model that reflects how dentistry is delivered. Develop a strategic approach to dental workforce planning that recognises the impact of Brexit and COVID disruption on dental schools.
  • Improve access for vulnerable groups
    Make a concerted effort to get low-income patients attending high street services, with proper resourcing for the Public Dental Service that cares for Scotland’s most vulnerable patients.
  • Integrate oral health with wider public health priorities
    Integrate initiatives to improve public health and tackle health inequalities, such as extending the sugar tax to a wider range of products. Provide sufficient resources for effective smoking cessation and alcohol treatment services. Work with NHS Boards to establish effective oral cancer referral pathways. Implement a catch-up programme for any children who have missed out on their HPV vaccinations.


“This pandemic inevitably caused a colossal backlog of unmet dental care need. Stark and persistent inequalities in oral health will also have widened over the past year, making investment in prevention now essential.”


Download our 2021 manifesto



We have already shared this manifesto with all political parties and candidates, but nothing makes the case more powerfully than hearing directly from you.


Candidates will be out on the streets, on your doorstep, and at hustings events. If you can, please explain to them the problems facing NHS dentistry and ask them – if elected – to speak up for dentists and the nation’s oral health in Parliament.


You can also share the manifesto with local candidates on social media asking them to pledge to #BridgeTheGap on oral health inequality in Scotland. Please tag @theBDA when you do, so we can follow up any conversations with newly-elected MSPs and ensure our issues are not forgotten.