It’s something that drilled into you as a child - brush your teeth and go to the dentist for a regular check-up. But figures suggest that by adulthood we are getting less concerned with our oral health, with rates of those attending an appointment at least once every two years falling away.
In Scotland, just seven out of 10 adults now go to the dentist at least once every two-years - down from 98.6 per cent just nine years ago according to data from ISD Scotland.
There are quite significant regional differences too.
In Shetland, just 58,9 per cent of adults attended an appointment within the past two years - the lowest in Scotland.
Rates were second-lowest in Glasgow at 69 per cent with the picture improving in Lothian at 71 per cent. However, this has fallen from a 2006 high of 99 per cent take-up of regular appointments.
The drop in numbers attending NHS dentists could be due to the rise in private practices
However, the Scottish Government has worked to improve access to state-funded dentistry and offered grants to new practices in return for a guaranteed portion of NHS patients (80 per cent).
This has worked to some extent in areas such as Highland and Grampian, which suffered from a shortage of NHS surgeries.
Perhaps most worrying is the number of children who now don’t attend their regular appointments.
In 2006, almost 100 per cent of young people would be at the dentist at least once every two years.
Now the figures has dropped to 85.5 percent
Again Shetland was the worst performer at 82.4 per cent
Glasgow again was the second lowest at 84.3 per cent of children attending regular check-ups, according to reseach published by the Scottish Government in March this year.
Rates of adult patients (%) who have attended a NHS dental appointment within the last two years
Ayrshire and Arran 87.3
Dumfries and Galloway 88.1
Forth Valley 88.1
Greater Glasgow and Clyde: 84.3
Western Isles 86.0