Oral Health Promotion Lead Dental Nurse Jo headshot

Jo Trevelyan

Oral Health Promotion Lead Dental Nurse (Brighter Smiles)

Since September 2018 I have been responsible for delivering our Brighter Smiles oral health programme in areas of high tooth decay in Cornwall. This sees my team and me setting up toothbrushing clubs, applying fluoride varnishing and delivering oral health education in schools, nurseries and family hubs across the county, and supporting our clinical colleague’s delivery on the Isles of Scilly.  I manage the Brighter Smiles team and make sure our delivery, data recording and reporting mechanisms are robust and effective, not just for our primary funder Cornwall Council Public Health Team and our other generous supporters but this ‘prevention’ activity is a significant pillar of our mission as a community interest company to deliver dentistry with social impact.

I represent Smile Together on Cornwall’s Sugar Smart Group and can often be found delivering oral health presentations to a range of audiences in other settings. This includes Cornish Pirates U12’s youth team, students at Truro & Penwith College and our own colleagues during ‘lunch & learn’ sessions, often as part of national oral health initiatives such as National Smile Month – in 2018 I won an award from the Oral Health Foundation for my work in this field.  During school holidays I step in to support my clinical colleagues and their patients by working in our Call Centre and in dental surgeries, which in turn keeps my dental nursing skills current.

I started working as a dental nurse in 1999 in general practice in Cornwall, qualifying in 2004. On moving to West Country Dental Care, I initially worked in unscheduled care (which gave me an insight to the extent of tooth decay in the local community) and then turned my focus to orthodontic dentistry supporting teenage patients. However, upon achieving my Certificate in Oral Health Education and fluoride varnishing qualifications, I was inspired to take on the role of lead oral health dental nurse for Brighter Smiles. The opportunity to engage with children of all ages in a variety of educational environments is so rewarding and I love working with the wider Smile Together team – they are all so passionate about what we do and such a fun bunch of people to be with.

In oral health terms there is a distinct variation amongst the Cornish population and a real need for the work that we do in many parts of the county. Smile Together provides us with such a diverse and varied clinical career opportunity that’s simply not available in general practice, and I especially value the chance to make a difference to the long term oral health outcomes of local children, essentially improving the dental health of future generations.

The biggest challenge in my role is being able to influence parents and carers, to help them recognise the importance of baby teeth and that it’s not OK to be having those teeth removed under general anaesthetic. Physically getting around the county can also be a challenge – not just busy roads during the summer but getting to often very rural school locations, off the beaten track where farmers in their tractors are also trying to get around!

Outside of work I enjoy walking, sea swimming, cycling, reading and baking, and generally spending time with my husband.

The fun bit

Cats or dogs? Cats

Surfing or sunbathing? Surfing

Manual or electric toothbrush? Manual

Cornish cider or gin? Gin

Mini or VW Campervan? Mini

Peace and quiet or loud and lively? Peace and quiet

Flossing or interdental brushing? Both

Full on roast or salad? Roast

Football or rugby? Rugby

Rock or classical? Classical

Under cover or outside in the elements? Outside