Nurses from the Family Nurse Partnership Programme at Plymouth Community Healthcare, who provide support and advice to young mothers, have received training and an information pack on the care of milk teeth from dental students at Plymouth University.

The project has been arranged and managed by the Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise.

The Family Nurse Partnership Programme is available on a voluntary basis to women under the age of 19 who are expecting their first baby. Based on regular home visits, family nurses offer support during pregnancy and until the child becomes two years of age. The family nurse replaces the role of the health visitor and works with young mothers on personal health, environmental health, life course development, the maternal role, family and friends, and health and human services.

The objective of the programme is to improve the experience of pregnancy, child health and development, and to help young women with the role of mother.

Dental students from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry have been working with family nurses to support their knowledge and practice around oral health care in the very young, and oral health education for new parents.

As part of the Inter-Professional Engagement (IPE) aspect of their studies, the students have raised awareness of the importance of oral hygiene and its effect on general health. They have achieved this by providing a training session and information manual for the nurses so that they can pass on this information to the mothers that they are helping. The students have also developed a resource pack for the family nurses to use day-to-day.

One of the family nurses with the Family Nurse Partnership Programme, said: 

“I feel inspired and motivated to use our tool kit to help my clients in making better choices in oral health.”

Hassan Adnan, a dental student at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, added: 

“It was an amazing experience and I am grateful for the chance to develop my teamwork skills. It has opened my eyes to community engagement.”

Professor Robert Witton, Director of the Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise, said: 

“This is an excellent example of how we combine dental education, addressing an oral health need and working with other health care profession colleagues to the benefit of all concerned. My thanks go to the Family Nurse Partnership Programme and Plymouth Community Healthcare for this opportunity.”