A Plymouth based project aimed at encouraging young children to be aware of their oral health is being launched nationwide today on World Oral Health Day.

Open Wide and Step Inside is a joint project between Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise and community health charity Well Connected. The project has been pilot tested with local primary schools over the last five years, made possible with funding from The Wrigley Company Foundation and King Baudouin Fund, and has now been commercially launched to support the importance of oral health amongst the younger population through an fun and interactive animated film alongside teacher, children and dentist support resources.

Robert Witton, Director of Social Engagement and Community-based dentistry at Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise 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 aged between four and seven 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.

Councillor Sue McDonald, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: “Giving our children the best start in life when it comes to their oral health is so important so I’m really pleased to see this Plymouth initiative being promoted nationally.

We know there is a link to high rates of tooth extractions in our children and levels of deprivation across Plymouth which is why the Council is focusing on oral health improvement in children as part of our Child poverty action plan. This is why projects like this are so important in helping to educate families about the importance of good oral health.”

World Oral Health Day (WOHD) is celebrated globally every year on 20 March. It is organized by FDI World Dental Federation and is the largest global awareness campaign on oral health. WOHD spreads messages about good oral hygiene practices to adults and children alike and demonstrates the importance of optimal oral health in maintaining general health and well-being. Each year, WOHD reaches out to the public, oral health professionals, and policymakers, who all have a role to play in helping reduce the burden of oral disease.

Open Wide and Step Inside offers a range of packages suitable for teachers, dentists and parents/guardians. Further details and package prices can be found at

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