A project to improve secondary school pupils’ oral health led to NHS Lanarkshire scooping a prestigious national award.
The health board’s oral health team, working with local schools, developed a new DVD and teaching materials called, Smile with Confidence – designed to promote the importance of good oral health.
And the success of the project resulted in the NHS Lanarkshire team being presented with the Patron’s Prize at the National Oral Health Promotion Group’s (NOHPG) annual conference, held in Manchester.
Celia Watt, senior health promotion officer (Oral Health), said: “We are thrilled to win the NOHPG Patron's Prize and have all of the hard work recognised by a national body.
“I’m sure the schools who participated in the project will be pleased too.
“The new resource will help promote the message of how important it is to look after your mouth.”
Celia explained how NHS Lanarkshire’s oral health team had developed the resource.
She said: “By conducting pupil focus groups we identified gaps in oral health knowledge and designed a resource that meets the needs of the pupils.
“Both teachers and pupils enjoyed the lessons and learned new information about keeping their mouth healthy.”
Albert Yeung, consultant in dental public health, added: “We are thankful to the secondary schools which participated in the pilot scheme so that an evaluation could be carried out.
“The resource has been tested within the actual school curriculum to show that it is an effective teaching tool in promoting oral health improvement”
Following a successful pilot – involving nine schools in Lanarkshire – Smile with Confidence will now be incorporated into the school curriculum to promote good oral health for both pupils and teachers.
NHS Lanarkshire chairman Ken Corsar said: “The award represents a significant achievement for the Oral Health Team.
“I wish to extend my warmest congratulations to the team for this success, which undoubtedly has given oral health in Lanarkshire an enhanced profile on the national stage.”
The Patron’s Prize award category is for individuals or teams who can demonstrate the use of evidence based practice in the field of oral health promotion through a project or research.
In addition to the Patron’s Prize certificate NHS Lanarkshire’s oral health team were presented with £200 prize money, which will be used to enhance team members’ continuing professional development.
The DVD and teaching materials developed through this project will be distributed to all schools in north and south Lanarkshire in October.
Special needs establishments will also be given a Makaton - a method of communication using signs and symbols - version of the DVD.