SLIDESHOW: Island dentists keep kids smiling

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Around 1,500 children across the length and breadth of the Western Isles had fun at the dentist this summer as part of the annual Childsmile campaign.

Feedback from each of the six week-long events held in different communities across the Isles has been 100 per cent positive, with ‘going to the dentist’ now being seen as fun by many of the youngest members of our communities.

The event is held on an annual basis and each child that attends a Childsmile appointment gets a dental examination and receives diet advice, toothbrush instruction and an application of fluoride varnish where appropriate.

For each Childsmile Week, the dental clinic becomes a kids zone, and children are encouraged to have fun, play with toys and enjoy the activities on offer, so that dental appointments become something to look forward to. Games and competitions promote the key messages of maintaining good oral health and a healthy mouth.

Nearly 1,000 children (970) attended a Childsmile appointment during the official Childsmile Week in their area. However, those who were unable to attend on the specific Childsmile week held in their local clinic, made alternative Childsmile appointments so that they didn’t miss out. In total, approximately 1,500 children attended Childsmile appointments across the Western Isles.

Over 880 children attended an appointment in Lewis, over 60 in Harris, around 100 in North Uist, 115 in Benbecula, over 200 in South Uist and around 110 in Barra.

The type of events held as part of Childsmile have been held in Lochboisdale, South Uist, for a number of years. Last year it was extended to cover both Stornoway and Lochboisdale, when around 500 children attended an appointment.

This year, enthusiastically led by Dental Therapist, Morag Mackinnon, Childsmile was extended to cover the whole of the Western Isles.

NHS Western Isles Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson said: “Childsmile 2013 has been of the most widely available, best attended, most positively received events we have held here in the Western Isles.

“For the local Childsmile team to have achieved 100 per cent positive feedback is remarkable, and we are absolutely delighted that children and parents across the Western Isles have valued, appreciated and enjoyed these appointments.

“The number of children who attended a Childsmile appointment this summer is an astounding achievement for the team, led by our dedicated Dental Therapist, Morag Mackinnon. The numbers across the Western Isles have far exceeded any of our expectations, and we are delighted that the popularity of the event has been mirrored across the Western Isles.

“I’d like to thank all the youngsters and their parents who attended appointments, and would also like to sincerely congratulate the Childsmile staff, who have made a significant contribution towards improving the oral health of the population through the Childsmile initiative. The team’s hard work and motivation has certainly not gone unnoticed.”

Take a look at our slideshow of pictures of children attending Childsmile in Uist.