Dentistry’s game changers – Claire Stevens on fluoride toothpaste
To celebrate 25 years of Dentistry magazine, we’ve asked leading dental professionals for their game-changing innovation that shaped their career. In this article we asked Claire Stevens what her game-changing product is.
Claire graduated from Bristol Dental Hospital in 2000.
She then moved to work as a general professional trainee in Newcastle Dental Hospital between 2000 – 2002.
A year as an honorary clinical fellow followed on from this.
She is also media spokesperson for and past president of the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry.
Claire chairs the Greater Manchester Paediatric Dentistry Managed Clinical Network.
She also writes toothfairyblog.org, which aims to provide pragmatic, evidence-based information for parents on children’s oral health.
The 2019 New Year’s Honours List included Claire, appointed CBE for services to children.
As a paediatric dentist, I get excited about any interventions with the potential to improve children’s oral health.
Perhaps the greatest of these has been the recognition that as a profession we need to shift our focus from treatment to prevention.
This consequently includes the now widespread use of fluoride toothpaste.
We know that prevention works and we know that it delivers return on investment.
However, there is no ‘one size fits all’.
But I continue to campaign for universal measures combined with targeted interventions for those most in need.
I would like to see supervised brushing in all early years settings.
An example of an upstream measure to improve oral health is BSPD’s Dental Check by One campaign.
Sara Hurley, chief dental officer for England, partnered with this launch.
Since the launch there has been a 23% increase in children aged two and under being seen by an NHS dentist in England.
This scale of behaviour change is only achievable with strong cross-organisational support.
Finally, I am a sucker for technology.
I love music, I have my mobile phone on me at all times and I have an appreciation for products which can bring about positive behaviour change in a fun way.
My final choice of innovation is the toothbrushing music-based app Brush DJ.
I am now an adviser to Brush DJ supporting its creator and CEO Ben Underwood.
I love the fact that the app has already reached over 1/3 million people in 201 countries and has the potential to improve the oral health of so many more.
If we are serious about improving oral health and reducing persistent oral health inequalities, we need to bring the latest health tech to those most in need.