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Healthy Smiles All Around

Published: | Health Improvement

Good oral health in childhood means healthy teeth and gums throughout life. Childsmile is working to ensure all children, regardless of income or background, have the best possible start.

Childsmile is a national programme designed to improve the oral health of children in Scotland and reduce inequalities both in dental health and access to dental services. 

Every 3 and 4 year-old attending nursery in Scotland (extended into some P1 and P2 classes in schools), is eligible to be offered:

  • free daily supervised toothbrushing within their nursery or school
  • free dental packs, which contain a toothbrush, toothpaste of at least 1,000 parts per million (ppm)  fluoride and oral health messages
  • oral health education for your child

One part of the programme takes place in Early Year establishments in the form of toothbrushing. Every child is offered the opportunity to brush their teeth while attending nursery.

Childsmile provides all the resources required and with the help of local Childsmile advisors training is received covering cross infection and the importance of maintaining good oral health. 

Childsmile teams visit nurseries across Glasgow and:

  • talk to parents and carers about the programme and answer questions
  • give a fluoride varnish consent form 
  • apply fluoride varnish to teeth (twice a year)
  • advise parents about caring for a child’s teeth at home

In March 2020, like most other services, Childsmile was suspended in the nurseries, as many of them had to close at this time. After nurseries opened, staff reported anxiety about starting the toothbrushing programme again. 

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Health Improvement Childsmile staff wanted to install some confidence in nursery staff so they could restart the toothbrushing programme. A training presentation outlining the measures nurseries should take so everyone was safe when they started toothbrushing again was developed and disseminated by Glasgow City HSCP Health Improvement staff in each locality area.

Fiona Hughes, Health Improvement Practitioner - Oral Health said: “Two Community Nursery Nurses from the North East Health Improvement Team, who support the nurseries in the North East Locality, with the Childsmile programme, offered online training sessions to nursery staff. Sessions were arranged at various times and days to allow as many staff as possible to access the training at whatever time suited them. This meant that staff could access the sessions even if they weren’t in the nursery and working from home. Once all staff in the nursery have attended the sessions and passed the evaluation, they’re then able to restart toothbrushing programme. Over 700 nursery staff have attended the training sessions allowing toothbrushing programmes to begin.” 

More information is available at

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