The Dentist Magazine.

Project underway in Leeds

Published: 25/01/2017

Children in Leeds have been learning how to look after their teeth thanks to the Bright Bites project run by international dental charity, Dentaid.

Volunteer dentist Nick O'Donovan is visiting schools in the city to teach the children about good tooth brushing, the amount of sugar in popular food and drinks and the importance of regularly visiting the dentist. 

The project is being funded by the People's Postcode Lottery which gave Dentaid a £9,100 grant to fund its oral health education work in Leeds. In addition to the presentation, all the children receive a tooth brushing chart, recipes and low sugar snack suggestions. They are also given a tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush. Bright Bites also includes classroom activities with experiments showing the damage that sugar can do, along with resources and lesson plans for teachers. 

In addition to offering the Bright Bites package to primary schoolchildren, parents are also invited into the schools to hear Nick’s presentation. He has also spoken to a group of teenagers who do not have English as a first language about the importance of good dental health. 

New figures show that around 160 children are having teeth removed in hospital every day costing the NHS in England £35.6m a year. Teachers are concerned about the amount of time pupils are having off school due to dental problems and the effect that high sugar diets are having on youngsters' health. Dentaid's Bright Bites scheme combines oral health education with the school curriculum so children learn what their teeth do and how to protect them from decay. 

"It is shocking and upsetting how many children in the UK need to have teeth removed because they are suffering decay that is entirely preventable," said strategic director of Dentaid, Andy Evans. "Oral health education has always been at the heart of Dentaid's work overseas but it's equally important we get the message across here." 

Dentaid's mobile dental unit is also supporting this area of the charity’s work. On Friday, it will visit two schools in Wimborne when Dentaid trustee Johnathan Gollings talks to the children about their teeth and invites them to climb aboard the Dentaid Van to learn more about dentistry.