During our trip in February 2020 I held a dental health and toothbrushing workshop with some of the school staff. The aim was to start a toothbrushing programme for everyone at Uphill.
We had taken toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental education aids and posters out in our suitcases. All the supplies were left at the school for the staff to set the programme in action.
Within only a few days of us returning home after that trip, both countries were in COVID lockdown, and everything was put on hold.
Returning for our long-awaited visit in February — two years later! — I was prepared to have to unwrap the toothbrushes and start the programme all over again. However, I was in for a great surprise.
On my first day back in school with the children, I spotted the dental posters on the walls. Then I saw toothbrushes and mugs in the kindergarten classes. Finally, around lunchtime, I was aware of the older children taking their brushes and mugs to the hand-wash station to very industriously and enthusiastically clean their teeth.
My dentist’s instincts had me following the youngsters to the hand-washing station to look at their toothbrushing techniques. I was pleased to see that a great job was being done by all of them There was rather more toothpaste being used than was strictly necessary but that was easily sorted.
After complimenting Michael, the Uphill Headteacher, for getting the programme up and running despite everything, I reminded him not to forget the teachers, and to make sure they were included as well.
The kids are now being encouraged to brush twice a day in school, with the young ones in kindergarten being supervised by their teachers.
Our visit was already pretty emotional, but to see the toothbrushing going on made it doubly so for me.
So much to smile about.
Written by Liddy Laird