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9 June 2015, 06:00
A scheme to improve children's dental health is saving almost £5 million a year in treatment costs, the Public Health Minister has said.
Childsmile offers every child attending nursery in Scotland free daily supervised tooth brushing. In the most deprived areas, this extends into primary schools.
Children are also offered free toothbrushes, toothpaste and two fluoride varnish applications per year.
Parents and adult carers are given dietary advice for children to help prevent tooth decay.
The number of primary one children with "no obvious decay experience'' has risen from 54% in 2006 to 68% in 2014.
Public Health Minister Maureen Watt said the scheme has led to substantial savings in treatment costs because fewer children require extractions, fillings and general anaesthetics.
She said: "We've made great progress since 2007 in improving access to NHS dentists - with 92% of Scottish children now registered.
"The success of the Childsmile programme speaks for itself, saving millions of pounds and making such a difference to youngsters' oral health.
"This is a really tremendous example of spending to save. The Childsmile programme show's what can be achieved when we have a real focus on prevention - in particular in the world of public health.''