Recently released research has revealed that a Scottish dental campaign has saved over £6 million in dental costs.
A study performed by Glasgow University showed that the Childsmile campaign has helped to cut the costs of treating dental disease for Scottish children under the age of five by over 50 per cent.
The Childsmile campaign is a varied campaign aimed at improving the oral health of children in Scotland. The core element of the campaign involves distributing dental leaflets, toothbrushes and tubes of 1000ppm fluoride toothpaste to children under the age of five.
By the time they reach five years of age, children will have received six of these packs. In addition, as part of the programme members of nursery staff help by supervising children brushing their teeth. This is available for every three or four year old child in nurseries, and is completely free.
Childsmile also offers a service whereby children from the more deprived areas of Scotland can receive free fluoride varnishing for their teeth twice a year.
The Childsmile initiative was launched in 2001. Its aims included teaching children and parents alike the importance of visiting a dentist every six months, as well as oral hygiene, diet and nutrition.
The researchers from Glasgow University found that the initiative had helped to reduce dental costs by £6 million.
The study found that, since 2001, fewer children have needed fillings, extractions, treatment under general anaesthetic and other dental operations.
There has also been a recorded decrease in the number of children needing hospital treatment for problems relating to their teeth, which has in turn led to an increase in the number of free beds and operating theatres.
Public health minister Michael Matheson said: “This is an amazing achievement and show just how much can be saved from a very simple health intervention. This has seen less tooth decay in children which means less toothache, fewer sleepless nights and less time off school.
“By this simple measure, NHS costs associated with the dental disease of five-year-old children have decreased dramatically.”