Dental sessions helping to ‘turn lives around’

Watch the video of the dental workshop at the 'Turn Your Life Around' project in Plymouth

‘Sugar hide and seek’ saw the children have to guess how much sugar was in different foods; ‘Pesky plaque’ highlighted what plaque is and how it builds up; and ‘Don’t brush in a rush’ involved a demonstration of good brushing techniques.

Dental students have been highlighting the importance of oral hygiene as part of a project designed to help schoolchildren ‘turn their lives around’.

From emphasising food sugar content to showing how well we really brush our teeth, the second-years from Plymouth University Peninsula Dental School delivered a workshop at the TYLA (Turn Your Life Around) project at the Phoenix Centre in Honicknowle, Plymouth.

TYLA welcomes children aged 10-12 each week to help them with a successful transition from primary to secondary school, and the students shared some educational sessions, tips and tricks to highlight the importance of oral health.

The session took place as part of the students’ Inter-Professional Engagement module – which the University runs on its BDS Dental Surgery and BSc Dental Therapy and Hygiene programmes in partnership with Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise (PDSE) and community engagement charity, Well Connected. 

Conceived by the students and partners, ‘Sugar hide and seek’ saw the children have to guess how much sugar was in different foods; ‘Pesky plaque’ highlighted what plaque is and how it builds up; and ‘Don’t brush in a rush’ involved a demonstration of good brushing techniques. 

Children were also invited to wear personal protective equipment, just as dentists would to help bring the experience to life.

Dhilan Patel, second-year BDS Dentistry student who helped deliver the session, said: 

“We thought long and hard about how to put the workshops together and we were so pleased that the children were engaged – they loved the sugar content guessing game, as well as trying out the plaque disclosing tablets that turn your teeth red to highlight plaque. The small, interactive groups seemed to work really well, and it was great to come along and put our knowledge into action in the local community.”

Rob Witton, Director of Social Engagement and Community-based Dentistry at PDSE, said: 

“The second-year Inter-Professional Engagement module is so important to help students understand the social and organisational barriers facing community groups and organisations in delivering oral health messages. Watching the children take in what the students were saying demonstrated how well the session was put together, and we really hope those who attended took away some really positive experiences.”