Supporting healthy smiles: Childsmile practice note for early learning and childcare (ELC)
Childsmile is a national programme designed to improve the oral health of children in Scotland and reduce inequalities both in dental health and access to dental services. The programme delivers a range of preventive care for children in nursery and primary school.
Toothbrushing experiences within early learning and childcare (ELC) settings, including childminders, are a vital way of ensuring all children are given opportunities to develop their oral hygiene skills.
Daily opportunities for supervised toothbrushing, NHS Childsmile activities for children and training for staff can support all children to develop the knowledge and skills they require for good, lifelong practices. This helps us to think about children’s health and wellbeing and gives children the best start in life.
Good oral health is integral to health and wellbeing. Tooth decay can contribute to delayed social development, nutritional problems, withdrawal from daily activities, attention difficulties, infection and missed days from ELC settings. Promoting good oral hygiene isn’t only about providing opportunities for toothbrushing but should also consider healthy eating and supporting children and families to make informed choices.
This practice note has been written, in collaboration with colleagues at Childsmile, to help celebrate the excellent work in improving children’s dental health and oral hygiene across the country, as well as to support ongoing development of this initiative across ELC settings. It is designed to act as a tool to prompt reflection and develop approaches to toothbrushing, supporting good oral hygiene throughout life.