Make bites brighter

08 April, 2024 / indepth
 Emma Kendall  

Dentaid’s BrightBites is an oral health education scheme that delivers a lively, interactive presentation

I live on the Isle of Arran with my husband and three children. Two years ago, we took over a practice; Arran Dental Care. Last year, we had an event on the island called The Magic Dentist to support children’s oral health. Nicki Rowland is the author of the book, The Magic Dentist which was illustrated by her daughter Izzy.

Nicki came to the island to promote the book and we promoted oral health with workshops on toothbrushing and healthy foods with the help of local businesses. Arran Dairies, Arran Cheese, Woodside Arran and Wooleys of Arran all donated healthy eating products. We were also able to give every child a free book, thanks to the support of Arran Accountants.

The event led to me speaking to Denplan about ways to help us with sponsorship and children’s oral health for the event. Denplan also sponsor Dentaid and within this there is a charity called BrightBites. It is an oral health education scheme that can be delivered both in the UK and overseas.

Volunteers visit schools to deliver a lively, interactive presentation that covers toothbrushing, teeth names and functions, sugar awareness and the importance of regular dental appointments. BrightBites can also be adapted to be delivered at nurseries, secondary schools and to groups with additional needs.

I now volunteer as a BrightBite oral health educator to help the children on the island with better oral health education. Recently, Brodick Primary School approached me to come and talk and with the support of BrightBites I was able to do this; I was provided with toothbrushes, toothpaste, stickers, workbooks and demonstration items.

I also decided to bring disclosing tablets to the event and got one of the children to demonstrate how they work and why we use them; it worked really well. The children were given a disclosing tablet with instructions to try at home. This was a really fun task and we have had children in for exams after the event who loved doing this at home. It is a fun way for the children to see what areas they are missing when brushing their teeth.

At the event we discussed toothbrushing, diet and visiting the dentist. All the children got a free disposable mirror to take home and pretend to be a dentist or look at their own teeth; the children loved the mirrors!

I brought in some Arran Dairies milk to show the children how drinking milk can help with their teeth and bones. By way of contrast, I demonstrated how many sugar cubes are in a bottle of cola. We had a question time at the end; there were lots of great questions from all ages and they really did show great interest in oral care and healthy eating.

Thank you to Brodick Primary for welcoming me and to the businesses for their support. Going forward, I would like to do more to help our community Arran to promote good oral health and to hopefully go into the other schools on the island. I may even hopefully be going to schools on the mainland.

Earlier this year, data published by the NHS for the financial year 2022 to 2023 revealed a staggering 47,581 episodes of tooth extractions for 0 to 19-year-olds in NHS hospitals. Of these extractions, 66 per cent – 31,165 episodes – were attributed to tooth decay, underlining the pervasive impact of dental issues among the younger demographic.

I hope I can help to educate children to brush better or eat fewer sugary snacks.


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