Brighter Smiles, Cornwall’s oral health campaign, has once again teamed up with the University of Plymouth to create a fun and educational animation featuring our toothbrushing mascot, Dylan the Dragon!

Following our successful collaboration in 2020 with final-year Media Arts student Daniel Mealing, who created the stop-motion animation Dylan the Dragon and the Sugarbugs, we were once again invited to pitch an animation idea to students as part of Plymouth’s Inspiring Futures programme, which enables them to engage in knowledge exchange activities (such as consultancy projects) as part of their coursework. Student Tong Wei expressed interest in creating a short animated film incorporating hand-drawn still images and focusing on the causes of tooth decay, particularly the effects of sugar on teeth.

Whilst Daniel’s project was aimed at children aged 3-5 years, we requested that Tong’s animation be aimed at children aged 7-10 years to educate them on the importance of taking good care of their oral health. Visual resources such as animations are very useful for engaging children, including during our Oral Health Education dental nurses’ visits to schools, nurseries and family hubs across Cornwall.

Tong came up with the brilliant concept of imagining teeth as “precious jewels” in danger of being stolen by thieves, and worked with the Brighter Smiles team to craft a script that explored this idea and taught children about the damaging effects that sugary drinks and snacks can have on teeth.

You can watch “Sugar and our Teeth” starring Dylan the Dragon here and also on the Brighter Smiles website alongside our other educational videos. We love this cheery, colourful and educational animation, and we hope you do too! A huge thank you to Tong Wei for all her hard work and to our colleague Gemma Caley for doing the voiceover, and our thanks once again to Inés Rae and Penny Hele at the University of Plymouth for inviting us to be involved in Inspiring Futures.

Take a look at Tong’s initial designs and some stills from the final animation to see how this creative project came together:

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