About Childsmile

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.

About Childsmile Practice

The Childsmile Practice programme is designed to improve the oral health of children in Scotland from birth by working closely with dental practices. It is being developed to provide a universally accessible child-centred NHS dental service.
It is carried out through a network of primary care dental service providers involving both independent contractors and salaried services.
Childsmile is introduced to the family by the public health nurse or health visitor who will refer them straight to a dental practice or to a Dental Health Support Worker (DHSW).
The DHSW will:

  • Contact children from the age of three months.
  • Make a first appointment for the child with a local Childsmile dental service.
  • Provide the central link between dental services, the family and the public health nurse or health visitor.
  • Give additional oral health support to children and families most in need.
  • Link children who have been identified as not currently attending a dentist, with local Childsmile dental services.

Additional support will be given to the children and families most in need through home visiting, community initiatives and primary care dental services.
Extra help
For the most vulnerable families, a longer period of home support may be required prior to engaging with dental services.
The length of each appointment will vary depending of the needs of the individual and family.
Continuous care
From six months old, appointments will be made for the child to attend dental services on a regular basis.
A programme of Childsmile care, tailored to meet the needs of the individual child, will be provided by the dental team.
This includes:

  • Oral health advice (e.g. on healthy weaning, diet, teething and toothbrushing instruction).
  • Annual dental check-ups and treatment, if required.
  • Twice-yearly fluoride varnish applications from two years old.


Extended Duty Dental Nurses (EDDNs) from Childsmile practices are trained in oral health promotion and fluoride varnish application to support the dental team to provide Childsmile care.
It is envisaged that children attending a practice will continue with the same dental practice for their dental care needs throughout childhood and into adulthood.