The Childsmile Core Programme is a Scotland-wide initiative to help improve the health of our children's teeth, through the distribution of dental packs and supervised toothbrushing programmes.

Carrying out Childsmile Core

Every child in Scotland should receive a free dental pack containing toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste on six occasions by the age of five.

Every child who attends a nursery which includes local authority, voluntary, and private nurseries will be offered free daily supervised toothbrushing with fluoride toothpaste from age 3 upwards. This is extended into 20 per cent of Primary One (P1) and Primary Two (P2) classes in each health board identified with the highest level of need.

The National Toothbrushing Standards provide full guidance on Scottish toothbrushing standards.

Nursery and school staff members should be trained before the toothbrushing programme starts in their establishment. Any new members of staff require to be trained before carrying out the programme. All existing staff should receive yearly updates.

You can download guidelines on the minimum information that should be included in any training sessions.

National contract for the Toothbrushing Programme

These resources are funded centrally by the Scottish Government to support Childsmile Core:

  • 0-3 years dental packs
  • 3-6 years dental packs
  • loose nursery toothbrushes
  • loose primary toothbrushes
  • fluoride toothpaste of at least 1000 parts per million (ppm) fluoride
  • free-flow cups.

Ordering and distribution

Agreed annual allocations will be available to order from the approved supplier, AMS International.

Distribution procedures vary within Health Boards and are agreed locally.

The following information has been provided by experienced practitioners involved in this programme for many years and may be useful when calculating yearly requirements.

Calculating the amount of toothpaste

Yearly requirements

  • each tube of 100ml toothpaste contains approx 300 pea sized amounts
  • calculations based on a 39 school week year
  • one 100ml tube contains enough for one and a half children per year
  • 39 weeks x five days = 195 days
  • actual number of tubes required: number of children toothbrushing x 195 days ÷ 300 pea-size Amount = x tubes ÷ 24 in each packet/box.

Calculating the amount of toothbrushes

Approximately one toothbrush per child who is participating per term is recommended (five per year).

Consent form

If the child is part of Childmile Nursery and Childsmile School, a consent form will need to be signed by the parent or legal guardian for the child to take part in the fluoride varnish programme. This gives the opportunity to update medical history every six months.

Consent forms are available to order from Health Scotland but held locally. Download the order form.


All Health Boards are required to carry out monitoring on the toothbrushing programme, using the Health Informatics Centre (HIC) system (external link).

HIC will offer training for the Childsmile Coordinator who, in turn, can train the staff who will be using the programme. In order to join this training, you will need:

  • access to a laptop
  • electronic class lists will be required by the HIC to populate their database
  • to obtain a secure NHS net email address for electronic class list transfers you will need a login for the Childsmile Administration system
  • if electronic class lists are unavailable, paper copies will have to be obtained from schools and added to the HIC database locally by NHS Board staff.

The HIC section contains all the relevant user guides and documentation used within the project.