Spreading the oral health message to children

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Dentistry speaks to Dentaid’s Jacqueline James in regards to the early years oral well being programme and the way the charity’s partnership with Denplan has helped this and its cellular clinics develop.

Inform us a bit about Dentaid and your position there

Jacqueline James: Dentaid has been going for greater than 25 years. We’re a dental charity that gives free dental take care of homeless and weak folks each within the UK and abroad. 

I’ve labored as a venture supervisor at Dentaid for greater than 11 years, primarily specializing in our abroad work.

The pandemic introduced a few of this on maintain, in order that is slowly returning in 2022, I at the moment additionally take care of our Brightbites programme, which is our oral well being training scheme.

What’s the Brightbites oral well being training programme all about?

JJ: Brightbites teaches younger youngsters in regards to the significance of taking care of their tooth. 

The programme has really been working within the background for fairly a number of years.

However as a result of our partnership with Denplan, a part of Simplyhealth, we’ve been in a position to give the literature and sources a much-needed overhaul. 

Their funding has enabled us to increase our literature to cowl early years settings, so nurseries in addition to main school-age youngsters.

With figures exhibiting round 1 / 4 of youngsters that begin main have some tooth decay already, we’ve wished to increase our programme into this space for fairly a while. 

Everyone knows how very important it’s to get younger youngsters and their households to have extra consciousness in regards to the significance of making good oral well being routines from an early age.

You’ve lately seen an elevated curiosity from faculties and early years settings on oral well being training. What has modified?

JJ: We’ve had an enormous spike in requests, for the reason that authorities modified the early years curriculum to incorporate oral well being in September final 12 months. 

That is such a optimistic step in having extra give attention to oral well being from an earlier age. 

Whereas we take requests to ship the Brightbites programme from all faculties and early years settings throughout the UK, we actually give attention to hard-to-reach and disadvantaged areas.

It’s all about reaching youngsters in areas of social deprivation, in addition to the place households expertise poverty. 

Brightbites has additionally been used at faculties and help teams for youngsters with particular academic wants.

We additionally work with our volunteer dental professionals who assist us determine native teams and faculties they know, who may gain advantage from the Brightbites programme.

Your new Brightbites literature has simply returned from the printers. You now additionally cowl early years in addition to faculties. How have been the sources developed?

JJ: With Denplan’s funding, Brightbites now has two new units of leaflets aimed toward early years youngsters and first faculty youngsters. 

We’ve had medical enter into these, and have had plenty of help from our charity’s oral well being educator, dental hygienist, Anne Powders, in serving to us to develop the content material. 

The literature contains details about oral well being routines, nutritious diet, the significance of visiting a dentist, in addition to recommendation for folks. 

We even have sources for academics, together with classroom actions, lesson plans, experiments to work alongside the curriculum and improve volunteer visits.

Denplan’s partnership with us, which began final 12 months, has additionally allowed us to provide toothbrushes and toothpaste for all the youngsters we see. 

Sadly, so many early years settings we go to in disadvantaged areas nonetheless have youngsters who don’t personal a toothbrush. Noticeably lots of our early setting visits additionally present what number of youngsters beneath the age of three have by no means had a dental check-up.

You point out your volunteers. Who can become involved within the Brightbites programme?

JJ: Any dental professionals from follow groups can become involved and register their curiosity on our web site.

We all know many practices go to faculties already and will possibly profit from utilizing our sources, by linking up with us as a Brightbites volunteer. 

We even have non-clinical workers volunteering, from follow managers to receptionist workers who need to assist their group and have nice oral well being information.

The appliance course of is brief, however as a part of working in early years settings, volunteers want a DBS verify forward of beginning.

The opposite stream of Denplan’s funding introduced as a part of your partnership final 12 months has helped fund 25 cellular ‘Denplan Outreach Clinics’. Inform us extra about these.

JJ: Our cellular dental items journey the nation providing free dental therapy for probably the most weak folks in society to individuals who in any other case could not have the chance to see a dentist. 

We take our dental surgical procedures on wheels to shelters, hostels and day centres for people who find themselves experiencing homelessness or are quickly housed who usually discover it tough to entry dental care. 

Many homeless and weak folks aren’t registered with a dentist and dwell with long-term ache and infections.

Sadly, 70% of homeless folks have dental issues and 15% have tried to extract their very own tooth.

Final 12 months alone, we held greater than 170 cellular dental clinics, that are all staffed by dental trade volunteers, together with Denplan member dentists.

What are the principle oral well being points you see at your clinics? 

JJ: A lot of our sufferers haven’t attended a dentist for 20 and even 30 years. So our first step is to construct up their belief and re-engage them with dentistry.

We regularly see folks in acute ache who want extractions or fillings or antibiotics for swellings.

However simply as vital is the possibility to extend somebody’s confidence of their smile – whether or not that’s a scaling, restorative remedies and even dentures. 

All our sufferers additionally obtain mouth most cancers screenings. In the end, if we simply get somebody to realize the arrogance to take a seat within the chair, discuss to a dentist and learn to correctly brush their tooth, we see that as an enormous win too.

You employ volunteer dentists for the outreach clinics. What are they feeding again about their expertise giving up their priceless time away from their day-to-day follow? 

JJ: We provide our volunteers a approach of giving again and serving to probably the most weak folks in their very own communities, who they’d by no means get to see of their regular working week. 

We’ve had volunteers say they’ll now present dental take care of tough sleepers they used to purchase a cup of espresso for on their approach to work.

They inform us it’s a vastly rewarding expertise they usually actually having fun with engaged on the cellular dental unit.  

Each clinic is supported by two members of Dentaid workers who be sure that everybody has a secure, fulfilling expertise and so lots of our volunteers signal as much as assist us once more – which we take as a very good signal!

The place are the Denplan Outreach Clinics going over the approaching months?

JJ: Within the coming months we’ll be working clinics in Dorset, Hampshire, Sussex, Kent and Wiltshire.

And we’re launching new clinics within the Midlands and Yorkshire later this 12 months all enabled by our partnership.  


For extra info, or to volunteer, contact [email protected]. To become involved Dentaid’s Brightbites programme go to www.dentaid.org/bright-bites. To seek out out extra about Denplan’s partnership with Dentaid, go to www.simplyhealth.co.uk/our-partners/dentaid.



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