Isles of Scilly dentist Dr Michael Twamley has been recognised for his dedication to improving oral health in his local community as part of a nationwide competition by the Oral Health Foundation. The competition, which ran as part of the charity’s National Smile Month campaign (17 May – 17 June), aimed to find hidden heroes in communities up and down the country.
When it comes to spreading healthy smiles you can’t find a much better example than Michael Twamley. The 43-year-old who lives on the remote island of St Mary’s, part of the Isles of Scilly, is a dentist who believes wholeheartedly in the benefits and importance of a healthy smile. It’s this passion that has led him to take a lead role in helping members of his local community, particularly children, maintain a healthy smile, as well as spreading smiles through his work with the Brighter Smiles oral health programme run by Smile Together across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Michael was nominated by his colleague Tracy who believes his infectious passion for his work and commitment to his community makes him fully deserving of this award.
Tracy says: “Michael is just one ever-smiling, positive individual providing emergency and regular dental care to the 2,500 island residents on St Mary’s and the outlying islands. However, alongside this, his passion for prevention is positively contagious – he’s reaching right into the heart of the island community to tackle tooth decay and improve oral health, particularly for the Isles of Scilly children.
“He’s regularly found in the local school and other community settings delivering presentations, sharing oral health advice and guidance, and giving toothbrushing demonstrations to all ages! Evenings, weekends or lunchtimes, Michael is so enthusiastic, flexible, giving, and passionate about making a difference to the oral health of the Islanders.”
The father-of-two is keen to make oral health fun and engaging which is also why he runs fun initiatives like Friday Fun Dental Facts on the local community Facebook group.
Michael is also an enthusiastic supporter of National Smile Month and was over the moon to find out he had been chosen as one of the charity’s Nominate a Smile winners. Michael believes that campaigns like National Smile Month are key when it comes to raising awareness of the importance of good oral health.
Michael says: “Campaigns like National Smile Month are very important as they bring the importance of good oral health to the public conscience.
“Oral cancer survival rates haven’t increased since I became a dentist. The more times we can get the public to think about their mouths then the more chances we have to help them improve their oral health and potentially save lives.”
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation agrees and is delighted that Dr Twamley’s hard work has been recognised.
Dr Carter says: “Michael is a shining example of what a dentist immersed in their community looks like. His passion for spreading vital oral health messages, especially amongst children, is really great to see and is no doubt having a very positive impact on the community.
“An Oral-B electric toothbrush is now on its way to him, and we hope he continues to keep up the fantastic work.”
Showcasing his deep sense of community spirit, Michael says he has no plans on keeping the Oral-B electric brush for himself.
He says: “The electric toothbrush will be donated to the Isles of Scilly Cancer Research Committee for their raffle. I hope the eventual receiver of it will put it to good use and enjoy all the great benefits that come with a healthy smile.”
If anyone would like to find out more information about Nominate a Smile and the National Smile Month campaign, head to www.smilemonth.org. Alternatively, if members of the public would like oral health advice or information they can always call the Oral Health Foundation’s Dental Helpline on 01788 539780. The Helpline is manned by trained dental professionals who offer free and impartial oral health advice and information. The Helpline is open from Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.