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​Childsmile gains show it’s time to invest in prevention

9 June 2015

The British Dental Association (BDA) has welcomed progress made by the Scottish Childsmile programme, which has reportedly reduced dental treatment costs by £5 million a year.

The early years scheme, operating in all nurseries and primary schools in deprived areas, offers young children free toothbrushes, toothpaste and two fluoride varnish applications per year.

The number of children in primary one with "no obvious decay experience" has risen from 54 per cent in 2006 to 68 per cent in 2014.

The BDA has called for the Scottish Government to build upon this success and expand coverage, and for administrations across the UK to take heed, and invest in prevention.
Mick Armstrong, Chair of the British Dental Association, said:

“Childsmile has produced substantial savings, but this isn’t just about money. First and foremost it has saved young children from distress, days out of education, and ultimately avoidable dental treatment.

“Politicians across the UK need to take stock of what Scotland has achieved. Every government and every party likes to talk about prevention, but too few have recognised that oral health is a key part of the health mix.

“Tooth decay remains the leading cause of hospital admissions among our nation’s children. It’s time for proper joined-up thinking that ensures health care professional, educators and parents can provide the very best for the next generation.

"The lesson from Scotland is clear: it’s time to invest in prevention.”

Robert Donald, Chair of the Scottish Dental Practice Committee, said:

“Childsmile has delivered. The Scottish Government should now take this opportunity to build upon this success and expand coverage to 5-12 year olds, to relevant teenagers and adults.

"Scotland has shown that dental disease and deprivation don’t have to go hand in hand. We must ensure that older children and young adults can reap the benefits.”

About the BDA

The British Dental Association (BDA) is the professional association and trade union for dentists in the UK. It represents dentists working in general practice, in community and hospital settings, in academia and research, and in the armed forces, and includes dental students. The BDA promotes members’ interests, advances the science, arts and ethics of dentistry, and contributes towards improving the nation's oral health.

For further information, please contact the BDA's media team on 0207 563 4145/46 or visit the BDA's news centre. You can also follow news from the BDA on Twitter. Membership packages reflect the varied needs of dentists.