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Scotland: Additional funding to support children's oral health

11 January 2022


The pandemic has created a backlog of care and continues to impact children's oral health. That's why, the Deputy Chief Nursing Officer has announced an increase in the number of toothbrushing packs available to health visiting and family nurse teams in Scotland. Community care teams have been encouraged to liaise with their local Childsmile colleagues to agree logistical processes to increase distribution.


This follows the previous announcement of recovery measures which included a package of additional funding to support further Childsmile interventions at national and local level. This includes the distribution of over 400,000 additional toothbrushing packs via health visitors, nurseries and childminders coupled with ongoing education about the benefits of regular toothbrushing. 


NHS Boards have also been advised they would receive significant allocations of additional packs and Childsmile teams were asked to work closely with new and existing local partners to enhance contacts and offer support.


The aim of the Childsmile programme is to improve oral health, support the reduction in inequalities in children's oral health and ensure access to toothbrushing and wider dental services for every child across Scotland. Since Childsmile began in 2006, the percentage of primary 1 children, free from obvious caries experience, increased from around 40% in the early 2000s to 74% before the pandemic. 


Continuing capacity restrictions relating to aerosol generating procedures in dentistry, mean available appointments are being clinically prioritised. Unfortunately, this leads to a backlog of care and impacts children's oral health. This additional funding may help tackle this issue and help us get back on the road to progress on children's oral health.