Brighter Smiles, Cornwall’s oral health programme, will be delivered in Truro Learning Academy and Nursery from September 2021 thanks to Smile Together who launched Brighter Smiles back in 2016 when the company became an employee-owned dental social enterprise.
Whilst Smile Together directly funds elements of Brighter Smiles including a number of school communities, the programme is also very generously supported 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 his partner Katie.
Prior to Covid over 4,500 children a year were benefitting 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 2021.
Francesca Humberstone, Head of School at Truro Learning Academy, part of the Aspire Academy Trust, said: “We are so grateful to Smile Together for funding Brighter Smiles in our school community. It’s something we’ve been trying to secure for a long time as we can see just how valuable the toothbrushing clubs, fluoride varnishing and oral health education will be for our children, many of whom don’t have access to regular dental care. When the team got in touch to say they had found funding for one more school and invited us to participate in the programme we were absolutely thrilled and can’t wait to start”.
Paul Critchley, Managing Director at Smile Together, explains: “The number one reason children aged 5-9 years are admitted to hospital for general anaesthetic is for preventable tooth extractions so it was no surprise that one of the first things our employee-owners wanted to do back in 2016 was develop a programme of education and prevention to help reverse this trend. When we launched our Brighter Smiles oral health programme in response to this we felt it was important to not only work in partnership with others but also directly fund some schools ourselves and we’re delighted to be able to support Truro Learning Academy from September”.
The school becomes one of four directly supported by Smile Together. With funding from Cornwall Council and a number of other valued supporters, the Brighter Smiles team regularly engages with 85 schools, nurseries and family hubs each year in areas of high decay across the county but there are 280 schools in Cornwall. If anyone would like to become a supporter of Brighter Smiles in their local school community and make a difference to the long-term oral health outcomes for children there, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.