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Oral health: key data sources

The data shown in the previous pages is drawn from routine surveys and datasets listed below. For further information on these sources please click on link provided.


In Scotland, caries prevalence studies were undertaken between 1987 and 2001 by the Scottish Health Boards' Dental Epidemiological Programme (SHBDEP). Data was available for 5yr olds from 1987 to 1999.

SHBDEP was superseded in 2003 by the National Dental Inspection Programme (NDIP). An annual NDIP report which advises the Scottish Government, NHS Boards and other organisations concerned with children's health of the oral disease prevalence in their area is published by ISD. The Inspection Programme has two levels: a Basic Inspection (intended for all P1 and P7 children) and a Detailed Inspection (where a representative sample of either the P1 or the P7 age group is inspected in alternate years). Decay experience is measure in the Detailed Inspection only. Detailed Inspections for P7s were reported in the 2017 report and data for P1s was reported in 2016.

The SHEBDP and NDIP reports can be accessed via the Scottish Dental website.

International data are co-ordinated by the World Health Organization: Oral Health Country/Area Profile Project (CAPP).


The decennial Adult Dental Health Surveys (ADHSs) provided the most reliable epidemiological data for Scotland on the oral health of adults up to 1998. The 2009 survey did not include Scotland.

From 2008, there has been an expanded adult dental health module in the Scottish Health Survey which examines the prevalence of natural teeth and dental health problems such as pain, bleeding or difficulties chewing. The survey also explores people's perceptions of whether they currently need any dental treatment. The 2012 Dental Health chapter can be read here.

Page last updated: 22 November 2017

© Scottish Public Health Observatory 2014