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News & Events

New research: public health guidelines for oral health are not aligned with today’s eating habits

18 October 2017

A new report has revealed that current public health guidelines for oral health are not aligned with our eating and drinking habits. The gap between what and when we eat and drink, and the measures we take to protect our teeth may be a contributing factor to the high prevalence of tooth decay. Tooth decay continues to be a major problem in the UK, placing significant burden not just on individuals but also on dental care professionals, the NHS and society.

Data from a new independent survey shows most respondents (83%) consume at least one snack between meals and almost half (48%) enjoy two snacks or more per day, however no oral health intervention is made after 56% of morning snacks and 60% of afternoon snacks1. Taking into account this ‘grazing’ culture, it suggests that our oral health routines may not be sufficient and further interventions are required.  

The Eat, Drink, Think report recommends that the current guidelines should be broadened to ensure that people are taking the necessary steps to protect their teeth when they are most prone to plaque acid attack and when brushing is not possible.

Dr Ben Atkins, a general dental practitioner, says: “Brushing twice a day remains the single most effective preventative oral health measure, but as the Eat, Drink, Think report indicates, eating and drinking habits have changed and patient’s attitudes to oral health must adapt too. The use of sugarfree gum can supplement existing oral health routines, and this should be reflected in the current guidelines.”

To download and read the full Eat, Drink, Think report visit the Research & Evidence section on the website. For further information on the report and on the benefits of chewing sugarfree gum, please contact:

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Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine & Dentistry Seeking PhD Candidates for Study on Prevention of Oral Disease in Vulnerable Children

19 August 2016

Deadline for Applications: 12 Noon, 25 August 2016. 

Start date: 1 October 2016 

The Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine & Dentistry are seeking to attract PhD candidates of outstanding ability to join their exciting and rapidly expanding programme of internationally-rated research and develop a programme for dental nurses to support young, first time mothers in taking care of their children’s teeth.

The research will address the national crisis in children’s oral health, especially in communities of social deprivation. Dental disease is common in children and the most common reason for children to be admitted to hospital. Children living in the most socially-deprived areas are at highest risk and the most likely to have their teeth removed under general anaesthetic.

The research team is working with the Family Nurse Partnership in Plymouth, who work with first-time young mothers. Family nurses offer intensive, structured home visits by specially-trained nurses, from early pregnancy until the child is two. The programme has worked with more than 200 families in Plymouth since it started in 2008.

The study will develop a way of working that links a dental nurse to the young mothers in the Family Nurse Partnership Programme, offering them support, encouragement and the necessary materials to protect their child’s newly-emerging teeth.  The study is being funded by The Wrigley Company Ltd.

The Studentship Advert with further details and application guidelines can be downloaded here.

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Wrigley’s Extra® is platinum sponsor of National Smile Month for the fourth year running

24 May 2016

Children have a way of putting a smile on our face no matter what the day brings.  The largest ever study of smiles – ‘The Smile Back Study’, conducted by Cambridge University in partnership with Wrigley’s Extra®, proves that children actually do possess superpowers when it comes to smiling  with adults smiling as much as 13% more in the presence of children than when in the presence of adults.

With a goal of protecting and spreading children’s infectious smiles, Wrigley’s Extra® is helping to support National Smile Month from 16th May 2016 with the The Extra® Smile Back™ Project – a new cause-related campaign, designed  to educate families on the importance of good oral health. As a Platinum sponsor for National Smile Month for the fourth year running, Wrigley’s Extra® is proud to be showcasing its increased commitment to protecting smiles with a campaign that funds education at the heart of the community.

Chewing sugarfree gum is just one way to protect healthy smiles and has been proven to help protect your teeth. That’s why Extra is accredited by the Oral Health Foundation who recommends chewing sugarfree gum after meals and in between brushing to protect teeth.

So for every pack of its sugarfree gum sold, Wrigley’s Extra® will make a donation to its chosen charity partner, Action for Children, to fund children’s oral health education. It will be donating a minimum of £250,000, and this money will create the charity’s first ever oral health programme for families around the UK.  A total of 690 educational sessions – endorsed by the Oral Health Foundation – will take place in children centres and family support services across the UK from August 2016 to August 2017. Over 10,000 children and 5,000 parents are set to benefit from the programme.

To highlight the importance of protecting children’s smiles, Wrigley’s Extra® has also created a captivating children’s book The Lost Smile – in partnership with award-winning children’s author and playwright Joseph Coelho, illustrator Sheena Dempsey and  charity partner Action for Children.  The book, supported by dental professionals from the Oral Health Foundation, centres on the story of a little boy who can’t find his parents’ smiles and goes on a smile hunt.

To help put a smile on the face of your patients, a copy of the book will be delivered with all counter top sampling units of sugarfree gum ordered via the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Programme website during National Smile Month.  Books will also be available for purchase via with all profits from sales split equally between Action for Children and the Oral Health Foundation.

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Michelle Coles wins national design competition and gets patients hooked on oral hygiene

24 March 2016

The Wrigley Oral Healthcare Programme (WOHP) and British Society of Dental Hygiene & Therapy (BSDHT) today announced that Michelle Coles, a dental hygienist at the Dental Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, has won the Oral Hygiene By Design Award 2015. Revealed at the BDIA Dental Showcase in Birmingham, Miss Coles’ winning entry “Hooked on Oral Hygiene’” helps patients ‘hang-on’ to oral hygiene advice even after they leave the clinic. This winning idea will be launched to clinics nationwide in 2016. Miss Coles, who qualified as a dental hygienist in 1988, was also awarded a grant of £750 towards her Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and a year’s supply of Wrigley's Extra® sugarfree gum for her clinic.

"I often use visual aids and props to support my oral hygiene discussions in clinic, but I wanted to create something simple and appealing that helps patients remember this advice once they get home," said Miss Coles. "The "Hooked on Oral Hygiene" tool is great because it can be hooked somewhere visible, like a bathroom door, allowing patients to keep their oral hygiene advice close to hand and helping them to regularly recall this information to maintain good habits between check-ups".

The Oral Hygiene By Design Award invited Dental Hygienists and those dually-qualified in Dental Hygiene and Therapy to unleash their creative talents and submit their designs for the ‘ideal' oral hygiene instruction tool. A wide range of creative and innovative designs were reviewed by an esteemed panel of judges including Michaela ONeill (BSDHT President), Professor Francis Hughes (Professor of Periodontology at King's College London), Julia Brewin (Dental Hygienist and winner of the 2014 Dr. Gerald Leatherman Award), Matthew Kent (WOHP Senior Manager) and Matt Wright (Director at Matter product innovation consultancy). Miss Coles' "Hooked on Oral Hygiene" design was felt to be a simple yet powerful tool that enables the full spectrum of oral hygiene advice to be captured in one easy-to-use resource but that can also be personalised for individual patients' needs.

"We all recognise how patients often leave our chairs with the best of intentions to improve their oral health, but in reality these new habits are often quickly forgotten. Michelle's "Hooked On Oral Hygiene" idea really resonated with all the judges because it provides a visible reminder to patients of what they should be doing." says Michaela ONeill, BSDHT President

The Silver Award goes to Jack Waddington at the Vi Dental Centre in North Humberside for his idea, the "Mouth House" app that delivers oral hygiene advice as smartphone notifications. The Bronze Award goes to Jennifer Huntley at the Dawood and Tanner practice in London for her idea, the "Diet for Dental Health" app, which allows patients to visualise their oral pH changes throughout the day. Jack Waddington and Jennifer Huntley will receive £500 and £250 financial grants towards their CPD respectively, as well as a one year's supply of Wrigley's Extra® sugarfree gum for their clinics.

"These winning entries were among very many innovative and imaginative ideas we received for the inaugural Oral Hygiene By Design Awards. From Apps to videos, and models to leaflets, we were genuinely impressed by the diversity of ideas and the quality of entries. Wrigley is delighted to partner with the BSDHT on such a successful and innovative programme to support those in the dental hygiene and therapy profession in their day-to-day practice." says Matthew Kent, Senior Manager of the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Programme.

WOHP partners with dental professionals in the UK and around the world to help them improve their patient's oral health through one extra simple and enjoyable step in their daily routine: chewing sugarfree gum after eating and drinking, particularly while on the go.

Please contact for further information and samples of the Hooked on Oral Hygiene tool.

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