'Inter-Professional Engagement' is a module at Peninsula Dental School of Plymouth University that Year 2 Dental Therapy and Hygiene students undertake as part of training. The design of this module is to give students the opportunity to work alongside a community-based organisation to deliver an intervention project which supports positive lifestyle choices and health improvement for a target population group. This promotes skill development and understanding outside of the clinical environment. The charity Well Connected acts as the link between the University and the community organisations.

A target population of children aged 0–5 years was allocated to a group in the academic year 2017-18 (pictured). This was with the charity Barnardo's who run Nomony Children's Centre, which has been set up in Plymouth to transform the lives of disadvantaged children and their families. The aims of the project were to improve knowledge and raise awareness of the importance of good oral health in young children and their families who attend the Children's Centre. This was done by:

  • Delivering two key oral health messages: spit, don't rinse and brush twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste

  • Promoting good oral hygiene by providing dental starter kits

  • Promoting good dietary habits by demonstrating healthy 'low sugar' snacks and encouraging reducing sugar to meal times

  • Using signposting methods to inform families of places to access dental care

  • Reinforcing key oral health messages by performing a familiar sounding nursery rhyme.

Due to the target population being aged 0–5 years, the group decided the project had to be interactive and entertaining. With task delegation, it was one individual's (GS) responsibility to write the lyrics of the song. Repetitive verses and a familiar sounding nursery rhyme were used to consolidate learning and emphasise key oral health messages based on 'Delivering better oral health' guidelines. Hence, 'The Wheels on the Bus' tune was used!

This song (pictured right) has been left with Nomony Children's Centre where they continue to use it regularly at the end of their group sessions. Furthermore, it is currently being distributed by Well Connected charity to early year partners in Plymouth. The song can be used free of charge.

By Georgia Snape