A group of Year 2 dental students from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, with support from the Community Engagement Team at Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise, have worked with parents and children at Sure Start to help raise awareness of good oral health and the link to a healthy diet.
The project was part of the Inter Professional Engagement (IPE) segment of the students’ studies, which sees dental students working with a wide variety of groups within the community to raise awareness of good oral health practices and improve access to dental care.
These projects also enhance students’ skills and understanding. The experience gained from these projects help to underpin many different skills such as; working in a team, improving communication skills, inter professional working and much more. All of which help them to become excellent clinicians.
The students working with Sure Start families focused on pregnancy, breastfeeding and weaning, with an emphasis on reducing intake of sugary food and drinks, and salt. The project resulted in simple and straightforward to use advice and support for parents-to-be and new parents.
The students provided cookery sessions with children and their parents, as well as advice and support on looking after little teeth at home.
Dental student Serena Manohar said: “We are really enjoying working with the children and their parents, and they seem to be having as much fun too – as well as taking on board ways to incorporate healthy eating and good oral care on a day-to-day basis. We’re really grateful to them for taking part.”
Claire Davis, a parent, said: “’This session has given my son the opportunity to try food that he wouldn’t have tried before at home. Now I know he will try new things I am going to try a different meal each week.”
Tracey Best, Parent Employment & Training Advisory for LARK Children’s Centre, added: “Parents really enjoyed the opportunity to work with students and Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise in sharing ideas and interactive tips around healthy eating and promotion of the importance of dental care.”