New statistics released by Information Services Division Scotland show that the percentage of Borders adults registered with an NHS dentist in Scotland was 12 per cent below the national figure last year.
The proportion of children registered is also four per cent below the national average.
The figures show that in 2014, 73 per cent of adults were registered with a dentist, compared to the national average of 85 per cent. And 88 per cent of children were registered, below the national figure of 92 per cent. For adult registration, NHS Borders is the fourth worst health board in Scotland.
The figures also show that dental registration is much worse amongst more deprived residents. The difference between registration rates of those in more deprived groups and those in less deprived groups is the largest of any health board.
John Lamont MSP said: “Given the considerable efforts to ensure the widespread availability of NHS dentists it is concerning that registration rates in the Borders remain well below the national average.
“Registering with a dentist and using them regularly not only ensures dental hygiene but is also critical in detecting other conditions such as dental cancers and high blood pressure.
“It also has to be a concern that registration rates amongst those from more deprived backgrounds are particularly low. I am sure that NHS Borders will be looking closely at how these figures can be improved.”