A team of adults with learning disabilities is all smiles after successfully passing a training course as part of a pioneering dental ambassador scheme.
Ten people from CHAMPs – Cornwall Health and Making Partnerships – have completed their programme of training for the peer support project developed by the Community Engagement Team at Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise (PDSE).
The team, part of health promotion for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, visited PDSE’s Dental Education Facility in Truro and spent several 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 a special presentation held at PDSE’s Dental Education Facility (DEF) at Plymouth Science Park.
The dental ambassadors worked on developing their own presentation ideas including activities for audiences to help them understand key oral health messages for good brushing, reducing sugar and going to a dentist.
PDSE’s Catherine Godfrey said: “Their ‘Brush DJ’ rap to the Robbie Williams song ‘Rock DJ’ was truly inspiring.
“They found and made their own props and their knowledge, confidence, enthusiasm and presentation skills were brilliant.”
As part of their ongoing work across Cornwall, the CHAMPs now plan to take oral health knowledge to special schools, health centres and adults with learning disabilities at colleges and workplaces.
The dental ambassador scheme, which is supported by Henry Schein, 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.
CHAMPs helps to make sure people with a learning disability and/or autistic spectrum condition get equal access to health services. Its main activities are checking health services, raising awareness of learning disabilities and promoting healthy lifestyles.
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.”
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.”