It is ten years since Ingrid Perry, a dental practice manager in Bridlington, was inspired to set up Teeth Team, a programme to raise awareness of the importance of children having access to regular dental care.
In 2006 Ms Perry visited a local primary school to deliver an oral health education session and was approached by the head teacher who expressed concerns about the number of children taking time off because of toothache. This inspired Teeth Team, which was set up in 2010.
Teeth Team currently works with more than 9,000 children across the city of Hull and East Yorkshire and is expanding into Lincolnshire. Working entirely on the efforts of volunteers and the support of businesses in the dental industry, the programme visits schools and teaches children the importance of healthy diets, effective tooth brushing and regularly attending dental checkups.
In 2012 Teeth Team launched 543junior.co.uk, an oral health education hub aimed at children aged five to 16 with games, lessons and resources for parents and teachers. Later that year they introduced fluoride varnish applications for children undergoing dental assessments as a quick and simple way of reducing the risk of tooth decay.
Since then they have received endorsements from the National Oral Health Promotion Group and the Oral Health Foundation, and have partnered with a number of businesses to take their efforts further, including Colgate, mydentist and Siemens.
Ms Perry would like to see a Teeth Team programme in every town and city in the UK and commented: ‘The advice I would give to anyone who may be faltering on a project is to never give up if you truly believe in what you are trying to achieve. Sometimes it may feel like everything is against you no matter which way you turn, but if you know in your heart you can and will make a difference, then never walk away!’