New oral health campaign sees pupils become tooth troopers

A Teesside dental clinic has visited three schools in Stockton to talk about dental care, helping the young pupils understand the growing impact of tooth decay and how important it is to brush their teeth.

Queensway Dental Clinic in Billingham recently launched its ‘Tooth Troopers’ campaign to schools across Teesside in response to the ongoing oral health problem, and St John The Evangelist RC Primary School, Pentland Primary School in Billingham and Red House Nursery and Infants School in Norton were delighted to take up the offer.

Coral Milner, communications manager at Queensway Dental Clinic, was joined by Jennie, Natalie, Sarah and Jade from the oral health education team, to talk with more than 400 key stage one and two pupils about how tooth decay can affect them. With the help and support of Toby and Tilly, the young ‘Tooth Troopers’ also learned about the importance of good oral health care and the long-term benefits of taking care of their teeth and gums at an early age.

Louisha Moyo, Tegan Lancaster and Hannah Mulloy aged 10, from St John The Evangelist RC Primary School said: ‘We were shocked at the amount of sugar there was in drinks. The most surprising thing we found out was how long we should brush our teeth for two minutes, we don’t think we were brushing our teeth properly before.’

Following the presentation, pupils were given workbooks with activities such as designing posters, a themed word search and a quiz to find out the number of teeth in a mouth, which helps develop creative design, problem solving and mathematics skills. They also received goody bags with a selection of items including certificates, stickers and activity sheets.

Mr Ian McKay, nursery and EYFS coordinator at Red House Nursery and Infants School, said: “The children were excited about becoming Tooth Troopers in assembly and finding out how Tilly and Toby looked after their teeth.  They were shocked when they discovered how much sugar is within foods, especially tomato ketchup, which is a favourite of mine!

‘At Red House Nursery and Infants School we teach children about tooth care and dentists in nursery right through to year three. Just before Christmas, year three children were learning about the effects that sugar has on our teeth in their science lessons. The talk by the team at Queensway’s Dental Clinic has certainly helped to reinforce the importance of a good oral healthcare.’

Dr Paul Howlett, partner and dentist at Queensway Dental Clinic said: ‘Oral health is a big issue nationally and more important, locally. Throughout the year we work with the community to increase their knowledge of maintaining good dental care and sharing the message of preventive dentistry – which a key part of a child’s overall health and wellbeing – and the Tooth Troopers campaign is a great opportunity to reach children at a young age.

‘We found the pupils to be very enthusiastic and excited about the project. They also have a good understanding of tooth care already so it has been really positive so far. We are very much looking forward to seeing the creativity and thoughts behind the posters for the competition.’

The youngsters have been given a chance to win a £200 voucher for their school by designing colourful and creative posters that get the good oral health message across. In addition, the pupils will be also be able to visit the clinic to see the dental team in action, supported by Toby and Tilly the Tooth Troopers.

Three additional schools are now planning to take part, including St Joseph’s Primary School in Billingham.

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