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Improving oral health in Lanarkshire should be a priority for all of us. 

At NHS Lanarkshire we have put a number of different initiatives and programmes in place to help our community in this area of health.


Childsmile is a national programme designed to improve children’s oral health and reduce oral health inequalities. The programme consists of three main elements:

Childsmile Practice - targets children from birth and promotes oral health improvement and prevention of decay through primary care dental services and local community dental settings.  Every child in NHS Lanarkshire, can access Childsmile.

The dental team will provide advice and support on keeping your child’s teeth healthy and, as your child gets older, additional preventive care such as fluoride varnish and fissure sealants.   

Childsmile Core Programme – involves the free distribution of oral health packs to every child in Scotland on at least six occasions during their first five years of life and free daily supervised toothbrushing to every three and four-year-old attending nursery.

Free daily supervised toothbrushing is also offered to children in schools within high priority areas. 

The Nursery and Primary School Toothbrushing programme aims to:

  • Deliver fluoride toothpaste to the enamel surface of the teeth to prevent tooth decay.
  • Establish good habits from an early age.
  • Teach children toothbrushing as a life time skill.

Childsmile Nursery and School targets children who may benefit from additional preventive care.  

This additional care will take the form of twice yearly application of fluoride varnish to the teeth of children attending nursery and primary schools.  Children can therefore receive at least four applications of fluoride varnish per year, two within the nursery or school setting and two at their dental practice.

For more information on Childsmile visit the Childsmile website or contact Susan Frew, Childsmile Co-ordinator on 01236 703453 or email susan.frew@lanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk.

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Nutrition and Oral Health for Childcare Providers

  • Do you understand food labelling?
  • Are you confident that you are offering children in your care healthy food in the correct portion size?
  • Are you comfortable discussing healthy eating and oral health with parents and carers?
  • What do you think childcare providers can do to reduce childhood obesity and tooth decay?

The nutrition and oral health of young children is fundamental to their physical, mental, social and educational development and wellbeing.

As part of a programme of activity to improve the diet and oral health of children, NHS Lanarkshire and partners have developed the Nutrition and Oral Health - Strategy into Practice for Childcare Providers and Nutrition and Oral Health - Strategy into Practice in the Early Years resources and are offering free online training to support their implementation.

The training is designed to complement the resources and has been developed to meet the needs of early years childcare providers and childcare providers caring for children older than five years, including out of school care services.

It provides factual information on healthy eating and oral health including: weaning; overweight and obesity, food labelling, portion sizes; practical advice for food, nutrition and oral health activities; and reflection on national policies and local strategies.

The training and resources are provided free by NHS Lanarkshire and are for all childcare providers working in NHS Lanarkshire area.

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Smile with Confidence - Secondary School Oral Health Resource

By the age of 14, 68% of young people have some tooth decay in their adult teeth.

A teaching resource has been distributed to all secondary schools and will ensure that oral health is built into the health and wellbeing curriculum and as part of the Health Promoting Schools scheme.

Oral Health Support for Workplaces

On average adults have lost eight adult teeth and have 10 teeth with fillings. More than 25% of the adults in Scotland are not registered with a dentist. Unfortunately this percentage increases as people get older, even though some types of decay, gum disease and oral cancer are more common in older adults.

Supporting workplaces to involve oral health as part of the Healthy Working Lives award scheme is one of the ways to improve oral health in adults.

For more information on the above contact Celia Watt, Senior Health Promotion Officer on 01698 377621 or email celia.watt@lanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk.

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The Health Improvement Library

The Health Improvement Library is available to NHS Staff and the general public.

The library has a variety of visual resources that can be borrowed such as games, puppets, jigsaws, smoker's foul mouth model, teeth models, gammy gum models, large sand timers, visual information, leaflets, books and posters.

Oral health topic boxes are also available for hire. Contact:    

Health Improvement Library
First Floor
Law House
Airdrie Road
Telephone: 01698 377 600
Telephone: 01698 377 629 (Leaflet Store)
Email: library.hp@lanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk

Opening Times/Staff

The library is available:
Monday - Friday from 9am - 5pm 

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Community Dental Services

The Community Dental Services or Lanarkshire Salaried Primary Care Dental Services (SPCDS), complements the care provided by general dentists in Lanarkshire.

Working across Lanarkshire this service provides care in health centres, hospitals, and care homes and occasionally in your own home.

These services provide dental care for the groups in our community who have special requirements that make it difficult or inappropriate for them to receive treatment in the normal dental setting.

The types of patients treated by the community dental service include:

  • Children with dental anxiety or with high levels of dental disease.
  • Patients with learning disabilities.
  • Patients with a range of physical and psychiatric conditions.
  • Patients with complex medical issues impacting on their dental care.
  • Frail elderly.
  • Patients within palliative care.

Patients can be referred to the community dental service by general dental practitioners, general practitioners (GPs) and other healthcare professionals. Patients are seen by appointment, Monday to Friday.

The community dental service can be contacted at:
Dental Office
Glendoe Building    
Coathill Hospital,
Hospital Street,
Telephone: 01236 707 711

Dental care for homeless people

General Dental Practice is the preferred service that homeless patients should access for dental treatment.

  1. Patients requiring treatment should be seen during the normal working day.
    • If registered with a local dentist contact the practice for an appointment.
    • If not registered contact the NHS Lanarkshire General Enquiry Line on 0300 3030 243 or go to the NHS Lanarkshire Service Finder page to find a local dentist registering new patients.
  2. The Oral Health Team will be visiting homeless centres on a regular basis to assist patients with accessing appropriate care and they can be contacted through the individual’s key worker. 
  3. Suitable patients as identified by the Oral Health Education Team may be directed to the Buchanan Dental Service student outreach clinic in Coatbridge.
  4. The most vulnerable patients as identified by the Oral Health Education Team will be seen by the community dental service.
  5. Out of office hours emergency patients should contact NHS 24:

If not registered with a dentist and think they need emergency dental treatment contact NHS 24 on 111.

Oral Health Educators
A team of oral health educators are employed to provide a Lanarkshire wide preventive service to children and vulnerable adults including those patients with special care needs, the homeless, and prisoners.

The team of oral health educators also deliver the Childsmile core toothbrushing programme in nurseries and primary schools across Lanarkshire. Through a variety of teaching sessions children, parents and staff are educated on all aspects of oral health and this is reinforced by staff in each establishment on a daily basis.

Additionally the oral health educators distribute the dental homecare packs, containing a toothbrush, toothpaste and an information leaflet to children in nurseries twice a year and to all primary one and two children once a year, delivering an oral health education lesson.

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Oral Health Resource for Primary School Teachers

Harry and Molly’s Adventures is an oral health resource designed for primary school teachers. The resource aims to assist schools to address healthy eating and oral health in Primary 1 -3 age group as part of the Curriculum for Excellence.

The resource has three stories: Harry at the Zoo, Harry’s Holiday and Molly and the Magic Lunch box. Each animated story was developed by the NHS Lanarkshire Oral Health Education Team in 2009.

Following the publication of the Curriculum for Excellence NHS Lanarkshire, in partnership with North Lanarkshire Council, developed this accompanying teaching resource to assist education staff to use the stories as part of the health and wellbeing curriculum. 

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