BrightBites scheme expanded

Dentaid The Dental Charity and Denplan have announced an extension of their partnership that will see more children receiving oral health education in school and nursery.

At least one-in-nine children have missed school due to dental problems, with a total of more than 15 million school days missed in the past year, according to data from leading dental provider Denplan, part of Simplyhealth. Over a quarter (27%) of parents whose child required emergency dental treatment say their child has missed a half day (3-4 hours) due to emergency dental treatment with one in 10 reporting full school days were missed due to this, finds Denplan’s Oral Healthcare Report.

Denplan, part of Simplyhealth, has announced a £100,000 donation to its charity partner Dentaid, which will expand its oral health education programme, BrightBites, to a minimum of 90,000 UK school-aged children. Targeting schools, nurseries and clubs for low-income families, volunteers will deliver in-person sessions, with a range of resources including toothbrushing charts, stickers, recipes and healthy teeth leaflets, to educate and inform children about oral health.


The partnership will also provide teacher resources designed to work alongside the curriculum. And every child will also be provided with a toothbrush and toothpaste to continue their positive oral health journey.

The BrightBites programme is needed more than ever before. The new data finds a quarter (24%) of parents report their children had not seen a dentist in the past year, including one in 14 (7%) reporting their children had never seen a dentist or haven’t got a dentist. Dentists typically recommend children see a dental professional as soon as their teeth start to appear, so they can provide advice and assess how often they should be seen.

One in 20 parents report their child has been hospitalised for tooth extraction, which is currently the number one reason for child hospital admissions in the UK. Rates of admission in the most deprived communities are almost 3.5 times that of those living in affluent ones[1].

Catherine Rutland, dentist and Clinical Director at Denplan and Simplyhealth said: “This data is a sad reflection of the state of oral health for children across the country, and the damaging consequences a lack of preventative oral healthcare can have. The research must be viewed in the context of the cost-of-living and ongoing issues around access to NHS dentistry. We encourage the government to start prioritising the oral health of the nation and the vital role dentistry plays.

“We know that over half of private dentists are treating some children for free. Many dentists – whether private or not – would like the option to see children and vulnerable people in an NHS capacity. Due to the current restraints of the NHS contracts in England and Wales, this is not possible. Private and mixed dentistry has a vital role to play in supporting patients. We’ve got to work together to reform the contracts and ensure children are getting the care they need.”

[1]Health profile for England, 2017:

Andy Evans, CEO of Dentaid, said: “Oral health education is a key part of everything we do at Dentaid The Dental Charity. This fantastic partnership with Denplan will help us expand our BrightBites programme and deliver these important messages about diet, toothbrushing, teeth and the importance of regular dental care to 90,000 children across the UK.  Many of our projects see us working with families at highest risk of social exclusion and we want to particularly focus our efforts on helping these children to learn about the importance of good oral health so they can get into good habits that will help them keep their teeth and mouths healthy.”