Dr Ranj is ‘Strictly’ Saving Teeth with new online videos for children

NHS doctor, TV presenter, author and celebrity contestant on Strictly Come Dancing, Dr Ranj, is the star of three new mini-videos unveiled today. Actor Gemma Oaten who rose to fame in TV soap Emmerdale supports Dr Ranj as the voice of sidekick Supertooth. 

The videos, which can be found here,  combine live action with computer animation. The aim is to give parents, carers and children the tips they need to keep teeth healthy. During the Covid-19 lockdown, dentists are only providing emergency treatment, which makes preventive advice on avoiding dental decay more important than ever. 

Dr Ranj and Supertooth guide children in different age categories and demonstrate, in just a few minutes, how to brush teeth. The key tips to promote prevention of dental decay are:

  • Brush for two minutes at least twice a day, including last thing before bed
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste
  • Spit, don’t rinse after brushing your teeth

Statistics released by NHS Digital show that nearly 60,000 children go into hospital annually to have teeth extracted under general anaesthetic. The cost for the treatment of this preventable disease is roughly £50 million annually.

The videos were instigated for the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD) by real-life Toothfairy Claire Stevens, a Consultant in Paediatric Dentistry and a spokesperson for BSPD. She explained: “Every year, when statistics for dental extractions in children are published, I am interviewed by the media who are horrified that so many children are ending up in hospital having teeth taken out and they want to know why. As a children’s dentist, I know that the main culprit is frequent consumption of sugary foods and drinks, especially between meals. We also know that it can be a challenge to teach children to brush their teeth when they are young and then encourage them to keep brushing as they get older. We had to find a way to reach parents with helpful advice in a fun and non-judgemental way.”

Coincidentally, she was contacted by Ben Underwood, a dentist and the creator of the free Brush DJ app, who was looking for videos that would give parents and carers accurate information in the most accessible format – short, fun and online.

Claire went on a mission to speak to Dr Ranj who had co-created and presented the CBeebies show Get Well Soon. Her daughter loved the programme and would quote Dr Ranj after watching the show.

“As soon as I spoke to him, I knew he was the right person to help make some watchable videos for children. He was immediately on board with the messages and he insisted on giving of his time freely.”

Now in collaboration, Ben and Claire carried out research among high-risk patients supported by BSPD Exec member, Hannah Walsh. They learned that the parents of the target group favoured videos which are short, fun, have star quality and include animation. All aspects of the videos, the length, format, design and distribution, have been tailored in response to the feedback they received. The results are now being written up by Dr Walsh as an academic paper.

The final crucial pieces in the jigsaw, said Claire, were production and sponsorship. They were fortunate to have Joff Powell and his team at Pedwar Productions make the videos and he invited actor Gemma Oaten to be the voice of the animated character Supertooth.

She said: “Health care solutions provider Henry Schein and dental suppliers Dentisan generously came on board as sponsors and I have been supported by BSPD Executive throughout. Now we all hope to see positive results – fewer children in our clinics with decay.”

Dr Ranj commented: “Every child deserves to grow up happy and healthy, and that absolutely includes having healthy teeth. I’ve seen so many instances where dental health is forgotten, or people just don’t realise its importance, until it’s too late. The statistics around how many children have to have teeth removed because of decay are shocking. All it takes to prevent this situation is some simple advice and practice, which is why I’m so keen to be part of this campaign.” 

Patrick Allen, Managing Director of Henry Schein UK and Ireland, commented: “We at Henry Schein are very happy to partner with the BSPD and Brush DJ to help promote the importance of children’s oral health to their overall wellbeing. The videos with Dr Ranj are an excellent and innovative way to help engage with families so they understand the importance of their children brushing their teeth, which can support reducing the risk of getting tooth decay.”

Bob Newsome, Managing Director at infection control manufacturing specialists Dentisan said, “We are delighted to have been able to help spread the word about the importance of daily tooth brushing for children. These videos are a perfect blend of a serious message given in a fun and age-appropriate way.”

View the videos on YouTube here.

Philips Oral Healthcare #habits4life campaign returns for 2020

Philips Oral Healthcare is a sponsor of National Smile Month and is reactivating is #habits4life campaign for 2020 due to its success last year. This campaign aims to drive the importance and education around three key oral care habits and create ‘habits4life’ so that, on a daily basis, people can take control of their own oral health with the ultimate aim of living healthier lives.

The three pillars of the campaign are:

  1. Visit your dentist – visiting your dentist regularly helps prevent wider issues for both your oral health and ultimately systemic health
  2. Brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush and floss – taking good care of your oral hygiene ensures a healthier mouth and body
  3. Healthy nutrition (reducing sugar reduces obesity/diabetes risk) and introducing ‘Sugar Swaps’ is recommended as a healthy diet leads to a healthier life

Dr Ben Atkins, President of the Oral Health Foundation, commented: “Philips three pillars dovetail with those of the Oral Health Foundation. I applaud the preventive ethos the company is recommending – that developing habits for life is vital if patients are going to achieve both a reduction in levels of decay and periodontal disease. If this also achieves improved knowledge about the systemic risks associated with poor oral health – so so much the better.

“I am working with Philips on a campaign to drive behavioural change in patients as part of a prevent approach which I believe is not only much more ethical and responsible, but is a far more sustainable model for the profession.”

Dental charity’s new website gives new opportunities to campaign for better oral health

The Oral Health Foundation has re-launched its website, with the focus on giving its supporters more opportunities to be actively involved in raising awareness of important causes.

The new online platform not only allows visitors to support all the charity’s campaigns and activities, such as National Smile Month (which is now underway for 2018), but also gives many more chance to participate in them.

The website (www.dentalhealth.org) also houses its own dedicated fundraising platform, which means that individuals and groups can create and share their own fundraising efforts and raise money for a series of charitable causes related to oral health.  

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, is excited by the possibilities brought by the new website.

Dr Carter said: “For more than 45 years’ we have worked with people and organisations who are passionate about raising awareness of oral health. This new website is all about providing these supporters with a platform which will make campaigning for oral health issues easier and more effective.

“Our new home also allows you to take a more in-depth look at who we are and what we do. Our charitable activities and the causes we support sometimes go under the radar, so we are delighted to be better able to share our successes with our supporters, the ones who make it all possible.”

As part of the launch, the charity’s patient-facing information, which was accessed by more than three million visitors last year, has been adapted to make it simpler for people to find what they need.

The Oral Health Foundation has also delivered a multi-language portal, which allows users to access all their oral health information across nine other world languages.

“It has been a remarkable project and one that we hope can have a real and tangible effect on the general public’s knowledge about oral health.

“More than 600,000 words have been translated by native-language speakers to ensure patients from as many countries as possible have access to trusted oral health information. These can also be used by health professionals for non-English speaking patients, with confidence and reassurance about the quality of information.”  

Visitors can also read about the latest oral health news, take interest in a series of new blogs and read the charity’s digital magazine.

The Oral Health Foundation’s Dental Helpline will also be available for those seeking answers to their oral health questions. The free advice line is staffed by fully trained and qualified dental experts and has been a useful tool for health professionals looking to point patients in the right direction in between appointments.

The charity is also excited to announce the launch of a brand-new online shop, which makes it easier for dental teams and oral health educators to find and purchase all the products they for oral health promotion.

Director of Educational Resources at the charity, Amanda Oakey, said: “Oral health promoters and professionals see such a wide range of people throughout the course of their careers and all these people require different needs.

“That’s why we spend a great deal of time producing high quality information and oral hygiene products to health professionals for their patients and local community.

“Our new online shop features our entire catalogue of more than 500 products and is incredible easy-to-use. I urge anybody involved in promoting oral health to go online and take a look.”

The redesigned website is live now at www.dentalhealth.org.