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Publication Date: 23/03/2010 

New initiative aims to improve the oral health of Lanarkshire's children 

Application of new fluoride varnish to commence 

Oral Hygiene 

Marie Fisher, Childsmile dental nurse, St Stephen's Primary pupil Liam Dillan; and Stacey Murphy, Childsmile dental nurse. 

Improving the oral health of Lanarkshire’s children is the aim of a new initiative being rolled out.

Fluoride varnish, which provides extra protection against tooth decay, will be applied to selected nursery and primary one and two pupils as part of the Childsmile Nursery and School programme.

This programme is a new element of the national Childsmile project.

NHS Lanarkshire’s Childsmile coordinator Susan Frew said: “Applying fluoride varnish will help towards the reduction in the percentage of children with dental caries as part of the Childsmile programme.

“In addition to applying fluoride varnish to children’s teeth twice a year, oral health educators affiliated to the nursery or school will also be available to provide oral health advice to the children and their parents throughout the school year. 

 “We will also help the parents or guardians of children who are not registered with a dental practice to find a dentist.”

The Childsmile Nursery and School scheme will initially operate with selected schools in Coatbridge and Hamilton before being rolled out to other areas in Lanarkshire.

Qualified dental nurses are trained in delivering the Childsmile Programme and in fluoride varnish application.

They visit the school on the fluoride varnish application days, usually in teams – made up of dental nurse and a dental health support worker.

NHS Lanarkshire oral health educators work closely with the nursery and school programme and are the main dental contact points for teachers, parents and school nurses.

The health board’s primary salaried dental service will have responsibility for the development of this new service.

Susan explained what happens on the varnish application days.
She said: “The dental team will arrive at the school and set up their portable equipment – such as a beanbag, chair, light and trolley box - in a quiet room previously agreed with the school.

“Each child’s application should take no more than three minutes so there’s minimum disruption to the school day.
“The child is then given an aftercare instruction sheet to take home to their parents.”

The programme will be available across Lanarkshire and will rollout on an ongoing basis to 20 per cent of nurseries and schools.

Children can also have a fluoride varnish applied at their dental practice and can have four applications per year.

For more information on Childsmile visit www.child-smile.org