It wasn’t just in the Western Isles this happened though, as all over Scotland children suffered decay, fillings and even extractions. In fact the problem was so bad that a Scottish yearly dental screening programme (called NDIP) was created to keep track of the problem.
NDIP ensured that every year teams of dentists would visit schools to inspect children’s dental health in primaries one and seven; the results making disappointing reading with the Western Isles regularly at the bottom of the class.
However, now things are very different as results of the 2016 NDIP survey show that children’s teeth have improved so much that there is now nowhere better in Scotland than the Scottish islands with the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland each showing almost 8 out of 10 primary one children having no signs of decay at all, with poorer results all across the Scottish mainland.
In fact over the last ten years NHS Western Isles has seen children in primaries 1 and 7 who are decay-free soar from just 54% to a terrific 78%.
This success can be directly associated to the NHS Western Isles promoted programme called Childsmile where by working in partnership with staff, oral health teams visit local playgroups and primary schools.
The Childsmile team deliver oral hygiene education, supervised brushing, and simple tooth-strengthening fluoride treatments all in a way in which children find easy to understand and also have fun whilst learning.
Mr Colin Robertson, NHS Western Isles’ Chief Area Dental Officer, said “The close co-operation between Schools and NHS Western Isles has definitely been the key to bringing such as successful change. In fact our local Childsmile programme is already stronger and more developed than the National scheme. We are able to reach a larger proportion of our local children and in some of our smaller schools, we are even able to offer participation to every child in tooth-brushing.”
To promote the scheme further, NHS Western Isles hosts an annual Childsmile week during July where parents and carers are invited to come along, register even the youngest of their children and take advantage of advice and practical help available to help their little ones grow up with perfect smiles.
Childsmile week is advertised locally in advance, and contact details for your nearest dental clinic can be found on the NHS Western Isles website at: www.wihb.scot.nhs.uk
Hebrides Today brings you the latest news from the Western Isles