And new data from the Scottish Government reveals that at the end of September 2021, just 59.8 per cent of all registered NHS patients in the region had contact with a dentist in the previous two years.
And among adult registered patients the rate was even lower at 48.7 per cent.
It compares to 91 per cent ten years ago.
However, registration rates with NHS dates remain high locally, with 86 per cent of the Dumfries and Galloway population signed up.
Following publication of the new figures, the British Dental Association Scotland (BDA) has called on the Scottish Government to strongly support NHS dentistry to address the large reduction in patients visiting the dentist.
And they are warning that the impact of covid will “inevitably translate into a higher disease burden”, higher costs to the NHS and worse outcomes for patients.
Robert Donald, of the British Dental Association’s Scottish Council, said: “Today’s figures provide further evidence of the devastating effect of the pandemic on dental services.
“Plummeting participation rates and the record gap in oral health inequalities present a bleak picture which will take a real commitment of time and resource to fix.”