An innovative project to make it easier for dentists to promote sugar reduction and healthier diets among their patients in West Sussex has been recognised at a national awards ceremony.
West Sussex County Council’s Public Health team was crowned national award winners at the Public Health England (PHE) Conference in Warwick for the West Sussex Sugar Smart Dental Toolkit.
Spearheaded by Ali Thomson, Sue Carmichael and Kate Bailey, the project was one of only four recognised, out of 300 in total.
The dental toolkit is part of the West Sussex Sugar Reduction Programme. It saw the county council’s public health team work alongside the Local Dental Committee, Health Education England and Public Health England to develop the toolkit for dentists.
Launched in May 2018, the four-week pilot ran in 12 dental practices across West Sussex. Aligned to the national Change4Life and ‘Top tips for teeth’ campaigns, the toolkit included badges, stickers, promotional materials, social media links, and prescription pads supporting dental teams to promote sugar reduction awareness amongst patients.
Patients were also directed to healthy lifestyle services within their local wellbeing hub for more support if required.
This work has raised awareness of the harms of sugar on teeth and its effect on general health.
Through collaborative working the partnership approach has enabled public health specialists to gain insight into the dental profession and create a resource that is beneficial to both dental teams and patients.
Daisy Hoad, a dentist at the Family Dental Centre in Crawley, said: “I have found the kit really useful, especially the tips for teeth and diet swaps – patients seem to really appreciate them. It would be so great to have this campaign continued.”
Amanda Jupp, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for adults and health, said: “I am delighted that the West Sussex Sugar Smart Dental Toolkit has been recognised for its collaborative approach to healthy lifestyles and wellbeing. I hope everyone who visited their dentist during this pilot period will be able to take this new-found knowledge into their everyday lives.”
West Sussex families are encouraged to visit Change4Life for healthier snacking ideas at www.nhs.uk/change4life and to download the free Change4Life Food Scanner App to see what is really inside their food and drink, discovering which ones are healthiest. This is available from the App Store and Google Play.
For further information on local wellbeing hubs visit www.westsussexwellbeing.org.uk