Children at Port Isaac Community Primary School and Nursery will be smiling brightly thanks to the generosity of local residents Mick Allen and Hannah Hutchison.

The couple are generously funding Brighter Smiles – Cornwall’s Oral Health Campaign – in this Cornish school community which will see over 70 children receive oral health care and education from September 2021.

This commitment sees Mick and Hannah, both experienced dentists, join a growing number of supporters committed to reversing the continuing trend of preventable tooth extractions from children across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – the number one reason children aged 5-9 years are admitted to hospital for general anaesthetic.

Their support will enable the dedicated Brighter Smiles team to set up toothbrushing clubs in the nursery, apply fluoride varnish to the teeth of reception and year 1 pupils, and deliver oral health education to all the school’s children with home education packs for all.

Dawn Conjoyce, Executive Head Teacher of Port Isaac School, said: “This is wonderful news for everyone in our school and nursery community and our sincere thanks goes to Mick and Hannah for so generously supporting us. Here at Port Isaac our children love to learn and I know this work will very much enhance their awareness of oral health  – we look forward to seeing our children smiling even more brightly!”’

Mick, who is Clinical Director at Smile Together Dental CIC, creators of Brighter Smiles, explains: “As a result of our clinical work both here in Cornwall and South Wales, Hannah and I are acutely aware of the challenges many people face in accessing regular dental care but also the shocking scale of preventable tooth decay in children across the country. We’re great advocates for prevention and education in schools as we know it makes such a difference to the long term oral health outcomes for the youngsters. I have also been involved with delivering  ‘Designed to Smile’, the national child oral health improvement programme in Wales which has had a similarly significant beneficial impact there too”.

Hannah continues: “Both Mick and I have a long affinity with Cornwall and upon joining Smile Together in a professional capacity it was a natural next step for us to support the Brighter Smiles oral health programme in the local school. We love living in Port Isaac and have really enjoyed the varied opportunities to meet people. We are so pleased to be helping local children improve their oral health. Evidence shows that not only will this enhance confidence and self-esteem but it will also improve concentration and boost their learning and development in those crucial early years”.

Brighter Smiles is also backed by organisations such as Cornwall Council’s Public Health Team, Seafarers Hospital Society, Imerys, Eco-Bos, DecaDent and Fuel Communications as well as individuals/sole traders such as Chris Hines MBE and Farmer James Farm Holidays at neighbouring St Kew. Prior to Covid over 4500 children a year were benefiting from regular engagement in Brighter Smiles from around 70 schools, nurseries and family hubs, and the team are looking forward to resuming those levels of support and more from September. There are 280 schools in Cornwall so if anyone would like to join Mick and Hannah in becoming a supporter of Brighter Smiles in their local school community please contact tracy.wilson17@nhs.net

Toothbrushing advice has changed, which will be news to many people, but this is how we should be cleaning our teeth – put a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste on a dry toothbrush, brush the teeth thoroughly for two minutes last thing at night (that’s the most important time) and at one other time during the day, then spit out the toothpaste but do not rinse the mouth with water nor mouthwashes. The toothpaste will stick to the teeth and so the fluoride will be in contact with the teeth for longer, helping to protect the tooth surface from decay. Children should use age-appropriate toothpaste. If fluoride mouthwash is also being used, then use this at another time of day, such as after lunch.

Diet advice hasn’t changed – we still advise people to avoid sugary drinks and snacks, especially in-between meals.

 

Children in classroom listening to teachers Four adults and four children standing in playground in sunshine

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