First Smiles Campaign

in partnership with Oral-B

About BSDHT First Smiles

Whether it’s their first tooth or their first visit to the dentist, a child’s early experiences of oral health can impact on the rest of their lives.

That’s why it’s so important to teach them about their mouths and introduce them to good habits as soon as possible.

On Friday 14th June 2024, the British Society of Dental Hygiene & Therapy is again running First Smiles, a campaign aiming to introduce oral health education to young children.

BSDHT First Smiles will not only help teach children more about their oral health, but the campaign will also help them to familiarise themselves with what is needed in order to develop and maintain a healthy mouth.

Alongside volunteers from the dental profession and interest from nurseries and schools, BSDHT First Smiles will work to deliver valuable oral health and hygiene education to thousands of school children across the United Kingdom.

With BSDHT First Smiles we are passionate about bringing oral health and hygiene into the classroom but only with your help can we achieve this.

Creating Healthier Smiles

It is a staggering thought, but in primary schools across the UK around eight or nine children in every class will have already developed tooth decay.

That’s approaching a quarter of a million children in each primary school year and around 3.3 million young people aged 0-14 years and many of these cases actually present themselves from a much earlier stage.

Nearly one in three children are starting school with visible signs of tooth decay.  The cost to the NHS of hospital admissions for tooth decay related extractions in children were £50.9 million in 2021 to 2022.

As tooth decay is an entirely preventable disease this is certainly a troubling thought.

We want BSDHT First Smiles to make a positive difference to children everywhere.

Giving all children the best start in life is a mutual objective for both nurseries and schools and healthcare professionals alike.

By partnering dental practices with local nurseries and schools on Friday 14th June 2024, we can ensure young children everywhere receive the right information, delivered in an easy-to-understand way, which they can later adopt at home.

Teaching good habits and routines at an early age means they are more likely to be continued on into adulthood. By instilling the importance of a healthy mouth at a young age, we are not only creating good health for these children now, but the benefits will most likely continue far into the future.

Our Aims

Schools, working with parents and health professionals, have an important role to play in educating young people about healthy lifestyles, including their oral care.

By working together to deliver these messages, First Smiles will aim to:

  • Build important partnerships between nurseries, schools, and their local dental practices.
  • Improve the oral health and hygiene habits and behaviours of children across the UK.
  • Teach young children about the basic messages of good oral health and hygiene.
  • Make children feel more at ease about visiting a dental practice.
  • Increase the amount of time oral care is taught in the classroom.
  • Reduce the amount of young children in the UK with tooth decay and other preventable oral health disease and eminencies.

Teaching good oral healthcare doesn’t have to be difficult. Some of the most basic messages are the best!

  • Brush teeth at night and at one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Cut down on sugary foods and drinks.
  • Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

BSDHT First Smiles is a fun and interactive way to introduce oral health and hygiene to young children.

What We Do

First Smiles continues again for 2024 so that we can continue the amazing work our members have been doing.  Whether is a school or a nursery, BSDHT members have delivered fun and accessible lessons to children aged between 3 and 11 on the importance of good dental health.

Our members have engaged with thousands of children who took part in activities and games offering an excellent opportunity to give them the skills they need to take care of their teeth throughout the rest of their life.

Oral-B donated samples of toothbrushes to help our cause while we also handed out educational material for the children to take home. 

Working together…

The initiative was hugely successful in forging of strong alliances between dental practices and schools through which, hopefully, there is more time dedicated to teaching the children the importance of good oral health and hygiene within the schools themselves.

We also had lots of participation from BSDHT Student Members – something we were delighted to see.

We are hugely proud of the impact that First Smiles has had last year, which is why we’re running the campaign again.

Please join us, and your fellow BSDHT members, by contacting your local schools to take part in First Smiles 2024 – action is needed, and your efforts could make a real

Making A Media Buzz

Previous campaigns have seen BSDHT First Smiles events making the news all across the UK.

Your nearby newspapers are eager to hear about any local activities – especially if it involves any schools in their area.

BSDHT First Smiles events also turned out to be a fantastic photo opportunity for them!

Most events were picked up by local media, with some appearing in several different publications!

More than half a million people read about BSDHT First Smiles events.

By organising a session with a local school our press team will help you and your practice gain this media coverage.

All you have to do, once you have arranged all the details with the school, is give us a call and fill us in.

First Smiles In Pictures

How You Can Help?

Whether it’s for a whole morning or afternoon, an hour or two, or just for one lesson, on Friday 14th June 2024, block out some time to teach young children about the importance of oral health.

It could be just one class, a year group or a whole school – it’s entirely up to you. Contact schools in your area and offer your time. We have template letters to download that you can send to both schools and community dental teams.

It is really important to make the lessons fun and enjoyable as possible.

Make them interactive by giving children things to do and ways to participate. This is more likely to engage them, so they take something positive away from the session.

Some of the things you could cover include:

  • Toothbrushing demonstrations include Guidance and tuition about correct tooth brushing.
  • Diet and the amount of sugar in foods and drinks.
  • What our mouths and teeth are for.
  • Games, quizzes, and competition.

Contact for more guidance and resources

Your Next Steps...

Are you interested in taking part in BSDHT First Smiles?

If the answer is yes, here are your next steps…

  • Have members of your team block out some time in your diary on Friday 14th June 2024.
  • Find a local nursery or school and make contact with
  • Download our template letters to schools and community dental Complete and post/email.
  • Make a proposal and discuss with the school what would be useful to cover in the class.
  • Contact us and tell us. We’ll be able to arrange for you to receive samples from Oral-B for each child
  • By giving us more information about what you’re doing and when, our press team will work with you to contact local media and press.

If you would like to take part and are struggling to find a partnership, please contact us from the details below and we’ll do our best to find you a match!

Contact us:

British Society of Dental Hygiene & Therapy (BSDHT)

‘Swallow’, Bragborough Hall Business Centre, Welton Road, Braunston, Daventry, Northamptonshire, NN11 7JG | | 01788 575050

Help us reverse the level of tooth decay in children and safeguard the oral health of future generations.