A team of adults with learning disabilities is all smiles after successfully passing a training course as part of a pioneering dental ambassador scheme – the first of its kind in the UK.
Six people from Plymouth People First have completed their programme of training for the peer support project developed by the Community Engagement Team at the Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise (PDSE) and supported by Henry Schein.
The team – just the second group to complete the course – has spent six weeks learning from PDSE experts about oral hygiene, tooth brushing, the importance of fluoride, healthy eating, reducing sugar intake and accessing dental care.
The programme culminated in an awards presentation held at PDSE’s Dental Education Facility (DEF) at Plymouth Science Park where each dental ambassador received a certificate, badge and oral health pack.
They will now promote good dental hygiene and care to their peers through delivering presentations in workplaces and residential settings.
The dental ambassador scheme offers people with learning disabilities the understanding, awareness and confidence to encourage their peers to adopt better oral hygiene and make regular visits to the dentist. They are also supported with presentation skills training – last year’s ambassadors delivered oral health presentations to more than 180 of their peers.
Henry Schein Inc., the world’s largest provider of health care products and services to office-based dental, animal health and medical practitioners, donated sweatshirts, toothbrushes and toothpaste to support the programme through its global social responsibility program, Henry Schein Cares.
PDSE Director Robert Witton says: “PDSE is proud to support such a successful and innovative project. The ambassadors are truly inspirational and they are making an important contribution to improving oral health in the community for other adults with learning disabilities.”
Martine Fletcher, Dental Ambassador Co-ordinator at Plymouth People First says: “Plymouth People First are delighted to continue working with PDSE on the dental ambassador scheme. We already have three bookings for the spring and are looking forward to sharing our new-found knowledge of oral hygiene.
Dental Ambassador Luke Garland said: “The course was really interesting and enjoyable. I liked doing it”.
Henry Schein’s UK Managing Director Patrick Allen said: “Henry Schein is proud to support the Peninsula community engagement team with the dental ambassadors programme. This programme embodies Henry Schein’s commitment to expanding access to oral care through prevention and education. I recently had the privilege to attend the ambassadors’ first presentation, and was inspired to see the impact it had on their peers. I look forward to hearing more about the group’s progress as they continue to share these important messages throughout the community.”
Plymouth People First is contracted by Plymouth City Council to provide self-advocacy for adults known to the Plymouth Learning Disability Services.
To hear more about the Dental Ambassador Programme, click play.