Throughout the summer, rain or shine, our team supported Home-Start Kernow’s summer picnics right across Cornwall, from Launceston to Penzance and visiting Saltash, Perranporth, Truro, Helston, Bodmin, Liskeard and Newquay along the way. These picnics were free and open to local families with children under 5 who could just turn up to their most convenient location, with older siblings welcome too.

Home-Start Kernow offers free and confidential support, friendship and practical help to parents of children under five in Cornwall who are going through a difficult time. These picnics were therefore a great opportunity for local families to access support and advice whilst having fun, playing games and making new friends.

At Smile Together we’re all about helping our local communities maintain a healthy smile so this perfect partnership saw our Outreach Dental Nurses Vickie and Jo attending each location with their trusty Brighter Smiles mascot Dylan the Dragon. They handed out free family oral health packs to everyone who attended, including toothbrushes for the whole family, toothpaste, a two-minute timer, brushing chart and a wealth of information on how to look after your oral health and access urgent or emergency dental care in the county. They encouraged the children to help brush Dylan’s teeth, explaining good brushing techniques and offering advice and guidance on healthy diets and oral health regimes. Fun interaction which really helps build a positive attitude to brushing from an early age.

Tooth decay is the most common reason for hospital admission in children aged between 6 and 10 years so our focus is on reducing tooth decay among the most vulnerable in our community by intervention and education. Outreach Dental Nurse Jo Trevelyan says: “Trying to accustom your baby to toothbrushing as soon as possible is so important. The best way to do so is toothbrushing before or after playing and the same applies to your toddler. Make it fun to do and encourage your child to mirror your toothbrushing behaviour. These were some of the key messages we shared with families at the summer picnics and it was so nice seeing the children having fun with toothbrushing and encouraging one another.”

Other partners also got involved in the picnics including local libraries and Healthy Cornwall who we partner with during our Smiles at Sea harbourside tours for fishermen and Health and for Homeless pop ups. It is always so rewarding making a difference through partnership and coming together to help those most in need in our community.

The indecisive weather saw some picnics attended by families in wellies and raincoats, and others with suncream and sun hats, but nevertheless the turn out for each picnic was fantastic and everyone embraced the activities. In total we handed out 149 family oral health packs!

Outreach Dental Nurse Vickie Robinson said: “It was so lovely seeing the children interacting with Dylan and brushing his teeth. They were always super excited to receive their oral health packs and see what goodies were inside! It’s a brilliant initiative and I really enjoyed working alongside the other partners to help young families. It was especially rewarding having people turn up even when it was pouring with rain!”

Take a look at our Patient Hub for a wealth of information about oral health care and top dental tips for the family.

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