The pledge sees both companies join a growing group of organisations committed to reversing the continuing trend of avoidable tooth extractions from children in Cornwall – a serious public health issue which sees around 20 children aged 5-9 admitted to hospital each week to have their teeth removed under general anaesthetic. It is the number one reason for hospital admissions amongst the age group but 100% avoidable according to campaigners.
The donation from Imerys and Eco-Bos has enabled the Brighter Smiles team to set up toothbrushing clubs in the reception classes, apply flouride varnishing to the teeth of reception and year 1 pupils, and deliver oral health education to all the schools’ pupils with home education packs for all.
Jenny Wood, who is part of the leadership team at Carclaze Community Primary School and year 4 teacher, has been instrumental in setting up the Brighter Smiles programme within Carclaze School. She said “We are extraordinarily grateful to Imerys/Eco-Bos for their generous donation which has enabled the Brighter Smiles programme to make such a positive difference in our school community. The pupils look forward to seeing the team and have really engaged with the fun oral health activities which fit so well with our main school values of: Care, Communicate, Persevere and Sparkle”.
John Hodkin, representing both Imerys and Eco-Bos, the company which is leading the development of the West Carclaze Garden Village scheme, said: “This is a great community-based solution to a problem most people are surprised and shocked about. We were only too pleased to support this important initiative which will significantly improve local health outcomes for youngsters locally in Mid-Cornwall and reduce pressure on the NHS. I’d encourage other local businesses to see how they can get involved.”
Paul Critchley, managing director at Smile Together, creators of the Brighter Smiles campaign, explained: “Whilst our contract with Cornwall Council has already helped over 1000 children in the most vulnerable areas of the county, there is still a huge amount of work to do in order to reverse this worrying trend. We are extremely appreciative of the funds Imerys and Eco-Bos have donated towards helping children in their local community.”
In addition to Cornwall Council, Brighter Smiles is also backed by organisations such as Ocean Housing, Fuel and Vospers. In the past 12 months just over 30 schools have taken part in the initiative with positive feedback from pupils, parents and carers and the schools themselves. There are 280 schools in Cornwall.
Pictured from right to left:
John Hodkin from Imerys Minerals and Eco-Bos; Jenna Dixon, the Brighter Smiles oral health nurse; and teacher Jenny Wood with pupils from Carclaze Community Primary Academy with Dylan the Dragon!