Dr Robert Witton, dentist, researcher at the University of Plymouth and Chief Executive of Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise CIC has recently had a service evaluation of Open Wide and Step Inside published in Research Outreach CIC, a global publication that connects research and projects with society.

Open Wide and Step Inside is a children’s oral health education programme. The aim of the initiative is to deliver key oral health messages in schools to children aged four to six years as part of the national curriculum in a fun and creative way, using an interactive cartoon animation.

Dr Witton says “Open Wide and Step Inside is a really exciting project that is delivering oral health education in a different and creative way using a cartoon animation and a cast of fun characters to engage children about oral health prevention advice.

 An important part of the programme is to support teachers to deliver key oral health messages throughout the year as part of the Key Stage 1 curriculum using specially designed teacher resources from the animation, making sure children get the best advice about looking after their own teeth for life as part of their early years education.”

Oral health and well-being impacts on many aspects of general health and establishing good oral health routines in childhood has long lasting benefits. Problems with oral health, dental disease and decay are the most common reason for hospital admission for children. Annually £35 million is spent by the NHS on admissions for children under 18 for tooth extraction under general anaesthetic.

Action on Sugar, a group of leading expert advisers, are currently raising the awareness of sugar in drinks as part of Sugar Awareness Week, both for children and adults.

Dr Witton concludes: “Research Outreach CIC choosing to publish the service evaluation article is another key step in continuing to raise awareness, not only locally of the Open Wide and Step Inside programme, but globally the importance of delivering oral health to young children in a fun and informative way to encourage healthy habits that last a lifetime.”

To find out more about Open Wide and Step Inside please visit https://www.openwidestepinside.co.uk/