The Dentist Magazine.

Student project focuses on social housing and oral health

Published: 25/04/2017

A group of dental students from Plymouth University Peninsula School of Dentistry are working with Plymouth Community Homes to investigate the relationship between social housing and oral health.

The team have looked at how social housing impacts on oral health and general well-being.

As part of the project, the students ran a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party-themed quiz on the subject of oral health and hidden sugars in food for tenants of Plymouth Community Housing – especially timely given the recent announcement made by Public Health England regarding the high sugar levels of breakfast cereals.

The project is part of the Inter Professional Engagement programme which sees dental students undertake a number of projects in the community designed to raise oral health awareness and to improve access to dental care. The programme is delivered by the Community Engagement Team at the Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise.

One of the students taking part in this project is Estelle Williams. She commented, “It has been really interesting investigating whether or not living in social housing has an impact on oral health. The quiz on hidden sugars was especially well-received – people are always amazed at some of the less obvious foods which contain sugar.”

Visitors to the event said, “Very good afternoon, thoroughly enjoyed it, the students were very helpful”; “Thank you, a very informative enjoyable afternoon”; “Lovely afternoon with lovely people”; and, “Really enjoyable, it was great how the students mingled.”

The project has been overseen by Ruth Potterton, lecturer in community based dentistry, and Reena Patel, dental public health specialty registrar at Plymouth University Peninsula School of Dentistry. Ruth said, “We could not run our IPE programme without the support of our host organisations and we are grateful to Plymouth Community Homes for working with us.”