Caroline Wetherall and Sarah Pollard set up Super Smiles in 2012 to improve the oral health of children in Jersey. Here, Caroline talks about what it meant for the charity to take home awards.
How does it feel to have won?
Sarah and I were delighted to have won the Oral Health Awards, Champions of Prevention 2019 as well as Best Leader of Prevention and the Shine On Award. We were completely shocked as there are so many people pushing the boundaries of our profession to help their communities.
Did you enjoy the awards evening?
The awards evening was most enjoyable with a great atmosphere. It is a wonderful way to meet new people and discuss how they are helping their own communities. It also allows you to talk about ideas and what bumps in the road have been met and overcome.
Why did you choose to enter the awards?
We entered the awards to highlight the work we have carried out. Through doing this we hoped it would help us to secure further funding from charitable foundations. This would enable us to continue supporting and educate the children in Jersey. Super Smiles provides all children from birth to 11 years of age with at least one dental prevention pack. It also provides the opportunity to join in our supervised toothbrushing programme.
What do you think the awards are doing to the standards within the profession?
I think award ceremonies are a beneficial way to highlight the amazing and positive work of our profession. Tackling dental disease at its core by implementing dental preventive programmes should be at the forefront of our profession but it is often overlooked by incredible advances in technology. Educating the community on the causes of oral diseases and teaching them the life skills to maintain oral health and prevent diseases helps to empower individuals, families and communities.
Why do you think you won?
Our charity started as a tiny project to try to highlight dental prevention to a small number of primary school children. During this journey we realised that our help was vital – not just at a primary school level, but from birth to adulthood. We needed to provide a service that was accessible by all, easy to implement and sustain and at the same time provide important life skills.
Through trial and error we feel we have achieved this, but the journey is not yet over! We continually listen to our dental healthcare and educational colleagues about the needs required to help these children and their families. Additionally, we are constantly adapting and changing our programme to improve the health and lives of children.
In Jersey there is no NHS and no oral health promotion. Being Jersey girls and understanding the dental needs of the island’s children, we felt we had the skills to provide a preventive programme. Super Smiles was founded as a charity and not as a private practice promotion.
As we have grown over the past eight years we have formed valuable links with other charitable foundations supporting the education and welfare of the island’s children. Additionally, this experience has allowed us the privilege of witnessing the real improvement of oral health in our small community. And hopefully in the future we will see the rewards of this impact.
Will you be entering the awards again this year?
We would encourage anyone to enter these awards. Make the most of a fantastic opportunity to highlight the work you have achieved.
To find out more about the charity, visit www.supersmiles.je.