Hands up for mobile dental unit

Three schools in deprived areas of Scotland will benefit from once-a-week visits from a mobile dental unit.

The dental unit will offer check-ups to school pupils, as well as fluoride varnishing. Information will also be given to children on what food and drink is bad for teeth, as well as help to find their own dentist.

It is hoped it will improve the dental records of children who are less likely to attend for check-ups. The project hopes to be expanded to other parts of West Lothian, with some calling for the scheme to made Lothians-wide.

The facility is run by Childsmile, a programme designed to improve the dental health of children in Scotland. Childsmile is funded by the Scottish government and has four main elements: a core toothbrushing programme; Childsmile Practice, which promotes oral health from birth; Childsmile Nursery, which provides preventive programmes for children in Nursery; and Childsmile School, which provides a school based dental service for children aged four and upwards.

Robert Naysmith, NHS Lothian’s clinical director of community dental services, said: ‘I am delighted to see the launch of this fantastic new unit which is targeted at children who will benefit greatly from preventative care.
‘The specialised dental care and equipment offered in the unit means that children in West Lothian will receive high-quality treatment easily and conveniently.’

Latest statistics indicate that show that the general oral health of youngsters is slowly improving. The number of children admitted to a dental hospitals has fallen over the years, and NHS Lothian data shows more than 90% of three- to five-year-olds in the Lothians are registered with a dentist – well above the national average.

However, a child from a poor family is significantly less likely to go for a check up at their local dentist, meaning the Childsmile scheme is key to oral health in these deprived areas.

For further information visit www.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk and www.child-smile.org.

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