An increasing number of female dentists are working for the NHS, with the gap between male and female numbers narrowing. Of the almost 23,000 high street dentists who performed NHS activity in 2011/12; 44.5 per cent were female. This is up from 43.5 per cent on the previous year and from 38.8 per cent in 2006/07.
This is according to the NHS Information Centre's report: NHS Dental Statistics for England: 2011/12 which also includes data on patients seen and activity in NHS dentistry.
A total of 29.6 million patients, both adults and children (56.6 per cent of the population) were seen by an NHS dentist in the 24 months to June 2012. This is a 1.4 million increase on the period up to March 2006.
Of these 7.8 million were child patients, or 70.7% of children.
The number of courses of treatment performed on the NHS increased by 326,000 (0.8%) in a year to reach 39.6 million in 2011/12. There has been a similar rise in the number of units of dental activity performed.
The data also shows that the number of fluoride varnish procedures carried out on children has increased by almost two thirds (63.5%) in the last year to 1.4 million.
Barry Cockcroft, chief dental officer for England said: 'I am delighted to see so many children benefitting from fluoride varnish treatment as part of our ongoing commitment to improving oral health across the country.
'We are keen to champion a preventative approach to dental care and I know this is very well supported by dentists.
'The procedure is affordable, easy to apply and best of all, it is very effective in protecting children’s teeth from cavities. This not only gives them a healthy smile, it also cuts down the need for other treatments further down the line.'