Keeping teeth healthy is closely linked to good health in general.
In 1948 dental services included checkups, fillings and the provision of dentures, with 14,500 dentists caring for the whole of the UK.
Over the years the treatment and care that a dentist can provide has grown significantly is now very much focussed on prevention and helping people to keep their teeth.
Manually and technically skilled, dentists are also involved in the early diagnosis and treatment of a variety of oral diseases, with specialist units opened to provide support for patients with complex needs or significant dental anxiety.
There are now 46,000 dentists working in the UK, with 92% of people in Scotland registered with a dentist.
Services for young children have always been identified as a priority.The Childsmile programme was established in 2006 to improve oral health in response to high rates of dental decay among children.
Childsmile provides daily, supervised tooth-brushing in all nurseries, and primary schools in disadvantaged areas; twice-yearly fluoride varnish applications in targeted areas; and supports families to improve their oral health and access dental services.
Over the last decade there has been a remarkable improvement in children’s dental health.
If you are not registered with an NHS dentist you can call the Fife Dental Advice Line on 01592 226555 (Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm). For useful tips and advice visit NHS Fife’s Public Dental Service at www.facebook.com/fifeoralhealth
Former Dental Nurse, Heather Stevenson, talks about her early years in the profession and how satisfying it was to see children overcome their fear.