Following a successful collaboration with the University of Plymouth we are excited to announce that our Brighter Smiles mascot, Dylan the Dragon (who began life at the Oral Health Foundation), is starring in his own movie!

In September 2020 we were invited to pitch our Brighter Smiles animation idea to the university’s final year Media Arts students, who were looking to work creatively with a client as part of their Collaborative Practice module.

The young children that the Brighter Smiles team ordinarily visit love Dylan the Dragon and we therefore wanted to create a short animation, starring Dylan the Dragon, that focused on “sugarbugs” (bacteria that live in the mouth, causing plaque and tooth decay by eating sugar and excreting acid). The animation had to hold the attention of children aged 3-5 years and be an effective and entertaining educational tool to teach them about the importance of looking after their teeth.

Student Daniel Mealing expressed interest in bringing our idea to life through the medium of stop motion animation, recreating Dylan – and the sugarbugs – in brightly coloured modelling clay and setting the finished animation to a piece of music called “Rainy Day Games” written by The Green Orbs. A massive thank you to Daniel for all his hard work and to Inés Rae and Penny Hele at the University of Plymouth for making it all possible.

You can watch “Dylan the Dragon and the Sugarbugs” on YouTube – we tested it before release and one little boy gave it a solid thumbs up saying “it’s cool”! We hope you and your little ones like it too.

Take a look at Daniel’s “making of” gallery below to get an idea of what it took to bring Dylan and the sugarbugs to life:

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