Improving children's oral health

Childsmile programme expands.

More children will benefit from a programme designed to improve their oral health.

Childsmile has a multi-disciplinary approach involving the health service and local authorities. Much of what has been achieved has been through the commitment of nursery and primary school staff in providing daily, supervised toothbrushing, and dietary and oral hygiene advice. In deprived areas children also receive two applications of fluoride varnish.

The Fairer Scotland Action Plan committed to extending coverage of the programme to reach even more comparatively deprived communities. The expansion was launched at Annette Steet Primary School in Glasgow, one of many which will benefit.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said:

“The Childsmile programme, with its emphasis on prevention, rather than treatment has resulted in significant improvements in children’s oral health across Scotland. Our aim is that every chil has access to Childsmile.

“Reducing inequalities in health is critical to achieving the Scottish Government's aim of making Scotland a better, healthier place for everyone, no matter where they live – and the expansion of Childsmile, through our Fairer Scotland Action Plan, provides a good illustration of this in practice.”

Scotland’s Chief Dental Officer Margie Taylor said:

"We are very proud of the Childsmile programme and the difference it is making to oral health for children across Scotland – fewer children are requiring treatments such as extractions, fillings and general anaesthetics.

“I’m really pleased to visit Annette Street Primary School and see the children taking pride in their oral hygiene. Picking up good habits at a young age means less tooth decay, which in turn means less toothache, fewer sleepless nights and less time off school. Not to mention these good habits will last a lifetime.”


Childsmile is delivered by a range of health professionals. There are a number of partners in education, voluntary and community sectors who work collaboratively with Childsmile to promote and improve children’s oral health.

Children should brush their teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. ‘Spitting, not rinsing’ after brushing gives the toothpaste time to protect teeth.

Margie Taylor CBE, MSc, MBA, FDSRCSEd, FDSRCPS (Glasg), FFPH, FFGDP has been Scotland’s Chief Dental Officer for 10 years and has worked to prevent dental disease over this period, recognising that there can be unnecessary suffering if children in particular ‎require multiple extractions and fillings or treatment under general anaesthesia.


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