NURSERIES in Inverclyde are helping to reduce the number of young children with tooth decay — but the district still lags behind the rest of the country.

Health chiefs say it still has one of the worst such records in the country.

But latest figures show a five per cent improvement in the number of primary one-aged children with no signs of decay.

Every nursery in the area is taking part in the Childsmile programme and extra attention is given to children living in the poorest parts of the district.

Top health official Louise Long said: “Child oral health in Inverclyde remains poor and improvements have not been at a level found elsewhere in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

“Registration of very young children with an NHS dentist remains low and needs to be addressed.”

One of the critical indicators used to measure oral health is the percentage of primary one pupils with tooth decay.

In Inverclyde this has reduced from 40.5 per cent of five year olds with decay in 2012, to 34.7 per cent two years later.

Nurseries are fully behind the Childsmile initiative which has been instrumental in improving things.

At Enchanted Forest Nursery in Greenock it is part of the daily routine.

Co-ordinator Alana Gallacher said: “It is important to ensure that all our children are brushing their teeth in nursery and we work regularly with the Childsmile team.”

Larkfield Children’s Centre also work closely with the team and say it makes a big difference.

Depute head Mo McKinlay added: “It is a great programme.”
Childsmile staff also work with primary schools and provide fluoride treatments.

Health professionals have successfully managed to get 58 per cent of under-twos registered with a dentist, which is better than the national average.

Locally, 92 per cent of all children are registered with a dentist compared with 93.7 per cent in the rest of the health board area and 94.3 per cent nationally.

*Original article online at

*Note from FAN:

For a further understanding of the Scottish Childsmile program, which was created because of the Scottish Executive’s decision not to fluoridate, go to