Edinburgh Community Food were delighted to receive funding during 2019-2022 from the Scottish Government’s Oral Health Community Challenge Fund to support families in the local community with nutrition and oral health advice. The Family Smiles project will have the longer-term ambition - in conjunction with other valuable programmes such as Childsmile - to support a reduction in the number of young children having a general anaesthetic for tooth extraction and increase the percentage of population free from caries experience.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the Family Smiles project provided a healthy lifestyles programme of cooking and nutrition sessions with families delivered in Early Years Centres, HMP Edinburgh Visitor Centre and our own early years groups across Edinburgh. Parents gained confidence in cooking healthy meals from scratch and learned how to achieve a healthy balanced diet with a focus on improving oral health.

I initially came to the course looking for inspiration for child friendly recipes, I came away with a lot more - oral health, hidden sugars, healthy snacksnd simple recipes. Thanks Jo! 

VegPower Mean 'n' Green Mac 'n' Cheese

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Jo, Food and Health Development Officer, decided to run weekly online cooking groups and oral health talks to continue delivering the Family Smiles project. 

These courses were delivered online for families and carers of a child under the age of 5 years old to help parents and carers increase their confidence cooking from scratch (increase vegetable consumption and reduce sugar intake), learn about food budgeting, how to make use of leftovers and food storage.  Weekly nutrition/oral health discussions to help families understand the need for a healthy balanced diet and the importance of how food and drink consumption can have an impact on health and oral health.

“My children have noticed me reading labels and have been asking what I'm looking at.  I said the amount of sugar that is in this…”

Our Family Smiles project completed in March 2022 and you can read our impact report here: Family Smiles Impact Report

“It hasn’t been that long since the session but we feel more empowered to work on our child’s eating.  We will also get him registered with a dentist as soon as we can.”

“I really enjoyed the course and got some useful ideas about how eating healthy can be quick and easy. Also great all the info about nutrition, reading labels for sugar content, dental health! Would highly recommend it.”

Now that Family Smiles has come to an end, we're working on another new project with LINKnet Mentoring called Eat Well for Oral Health.  Watch this space!

Advice for dental treatment

Anyone needing dental treatment should contact their dental practice as normal and they will be triaged by a dentist and referred to an urgent dental care centre if needed. 

Further information can be found on the Primary Care Landing Page on NHS Inform and Dentistry pages on NHS Inform



Dental emergencies

Dental emergencies need to be assessed and treated quickly to avoid the risk of permanent damage.

They include:

  • abscesses and swellings in and around the mouth
  • bleeding
  • trauma - for example knocking out a tooth

Registered with a dentist

If you're registered with a dentist and think you have a dental emergency during this period, phone your dental practice. They'll be able to tell you whether you should:

  • be seen by your dentist
  • go to a local hospital for care

Not registered with a dentist

If you're not registered with a dentist, follow the local advice given below:

Chalmers Dental Centre ‘Walk-in’ clinic: no appointment necessary.
3 Chalmers Street, Edinburgh EH3 9EW  Tel: 0131 536 4800.
Dental triage and advice service, Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm.
Dental treatment service, Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm.

Dental Practices Accepting NHS Patients

For further information on the Family Smiles project please contact Jo on 0131 467 7326 or [email protected]

Look out for further information on our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

You might like to read Jo's Oh So Sweet leaflet which was written for inclusion in over 800 food boxes delivered to homes during the first week of May 2020.

Here are some useful resources for young children:

My Toothbrushing Diary Ages 3-6)

My Toothbrushing Diary Ages 7-10

Drinks for Babies and Young Children

Snack Ideas for Children

All about teeth crossword - Twinkl

Brushing Your Teeth Sequencing Card - Twinkl

Dental Snacks & Ladders

VegPower - Tips and Blogs

Fizz Free February - Take the Pledge

Fizz Free February Certificate