‘Open Wide and Step Inside’ has been produced by the Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise, Peninsula Dental School and Plymouth University, with financial support of £105,000 from the worldwide Wrigley Company Foundation and toothbrushes and toothpaste donated by GSK.
The film is the first in the world to use immersive vision technology (where the film is shown in a ‘dome’ theatre with images all around the audience) to engage with five to seven-year olds about looking after their teeth.
This is a key age group, because by seven children should be starting to clean their teeth without supervision and making good choices about what they eat and drink, and when.
‘Open Wide and Step Inside’ has been created by dental specialists because figures regarding children’s oral health would suggest that other ways to encourage better cleaning, improved diet and frequent visits to the dentist are not working.
Two reports this year into the state of children’s teeth made shocking reading: the first stated that more children are admitted to hospital for dental problems than for any other health issue; and the second said that 12% of three-year olds across the country had experienced tooth decay.
The film comes with an educational pack for teachers and goodie bags for pupils.
The cast of the film includes members of staff from the Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise and Peninsula Dental School.
The film has also included pupils from High Street, Ford and St Joseph’s primary schools in Plymouth, who formed the choir for the film’s song.
The debut for the film will take place in the immersive vision theatre on the Plymouth University campus on Wednesday 22 October, when it will be shown to 40 local school children plus their teachers and classroom assistants.
After that there will be a series of showings for other schoolchildren both at the immersive vision theatre and in a mobile immersive vision unit.
Dr Robert Witton, director of social engagement and community-based dentistry, Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise, said: ‘We are incredibly excited about “Open Wide and Step Inside” – we are really breaking new ground in oral health education here.
‘Recent reports show that there is still more to be done to help children, and those who care for them, protect their teeth and improve their oral health.
‘While methods to date have gone some way to address these issues, there is a need for new, innovative approaches and we think our film is one of those.
‘Our thanks go to the Wrigley Foundation, local schools and the Telmed team at Plymouth University for helping Geoffrey (the main character in the film) and his friends make it to the big immersive screen.’