Prior to the pandemic, we were successfully working in partnership with ITEC UK including to help address the oral health care issues for children in West Cornwall. The Xerox Business Solutions Company has now committed to continuing its generous support for Brighter Smiles, our oral health campaign, in Landewednack and Grade Ruan Primary Schools and Nurseries.
Pre-Covid, 4,454 Cornish children were regularly engaging in the Brighter Smiles programme of toothbrushing clubs, fluoride varnish application and oral health education including oral health family packs for every pupil.
Each pack includes toothbrushes, toothpaste, a 2-minute timer, toothbrushing chart, top tips for oral health care and a wealth of other educational resources. Uptake of the daily toothbrushing clubs was good among nursery and reception pupils with the children excited to take part.
Lockdowns meant that Brighter Smiles’ delivery of face-to-face support in schools, nurseries and family hubs had to pause, but the team continued to support the oral health of local children and communities through virtual oral health education sessions, a short animation of Dylan the Dragon and thousands of donations of toothbrushes, toothpaste and oral health education packs to local charities supporting vulnerable families across the county.
Public Health England has now given the go ahead to resume the delivery of the Brighter Smiles programme in educational environments so our partnership will restart at the beginning of the new academic year in September 2021 when school communities will be able to welcome the Brighter Smiles team back to deliver face-to-face support.
ITEC are thrilled to be resuming their support for the programme recognising that: “With our help Brighter Smiles will be able to continue delivering their much-valued oral health programme in these two school communities in West Cornwall, which has been on pause since the start of the pandemic. During the next academic year, Brighter Smiles will set up tooth brushing clubs, offer fluoride varnish application to all year one pupils along with the children who have missed out over the past year due to the pandemic. As the programme gets back on track after Covid, we look forward to supporting these school and nursery aged children to access the oral health care education they need to help them improve their oral hygiene”.
We’re very grateful to ITEC, and indeed all our Brighter Smiles supporters, for their help in tackling preventable tooth decay.
For more information about our Brighter Smiles programme and to see how we are making a difference to the oral health of children, please visit brightersmiles.org.uk