Mr Robert Witton

Mr Robert Witton

Director of Social Engagement and Community-based Dentistry (Education)

Peninsula Dental School (Faculty of Health)


Director of social engagement and community-based dentistry
Director of Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise CIC
Consultant in dental public health (Public Health England)

Training Programme Director in dental public health (Health Education England Southwest)


BDS (Birmingham University) 1999
MFGDP(UK) 2003
MFDS RCS(Eng) 2005
DPDS (Bristol University) 2009
Certificate in Clinical Periodontology (UCLAN) 2009
MSc Public and Community Health (Universities of Exeter & Plymouth) 2012
FDS (Dental Public Health) RCS(Eng) 2012
FHEA 2016

FDFT(Edin) 2017
FRSPH 2019

Professional membership

General Dental Council Reg No. 75972
Performer number - 75972-5F1
British Dental Association
British Society for the Study of Community Dentistry 
Associate Member Faculty of General Dental Practice
Fellow in Dental Surgery Royal College of Surgeons of England

Roles on external bodies

British Dental Association Public Health Committee (2019 to present)
British Society for the Study of Community Dentistry Executive Council (2019 to present)
Devon and Cornwall Local Dental Network (2012 to present)
Non-Executive Director, Smile Together CIC (2016 to present)
Chair Well Connected Charity (2017 – 2019)

Teaching interests

Public health
Community engagement
Health policy
Primary dental care

Staff serving as external examiners

ISFE Examiner in dental public health (2015 to present)

RCS England Examiner in dental public health (2019 to present)
External Examiner Queen Mary University of London (2019 to present)

Research interests

Primary Dental Care
Health Services Research

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

Doctor of Philosophy Martha Paisi ‘Obesity and dental caries in children in Plymouth’ 2014-2017

Grants & contracts

·    £2,500 (external). GSK and Association for Dental Education in Europe. Advancement of dentistry in society scholarship award (2018)

·    £5,800 (external). GSK Oral and Dental Research Trust. Paisi M, Kay E, Witton R (2017)

·    £128,000 (external). PDSE post-doctoral fellowship. To investigate the oral health impact of the dental school and PDSE in Devon and Cornwall. Nasser M, Moles D, Witton R (2017)

·    £89,000 (external). Wrigley Global Oral Health Fund. To deliver and improve the “open wide and step inside” oral health education intervention in Plymouth primary schools. Witton R (2017)

·    £5,000 (internal). Plymouth University Medical Education Award ‘Exploring transformative and troublesome moments for medical and dental students during social engagement pathways’. Neve H, Witton R, Smith W, Henn K (2016)

·    £60,000 (internal). Plymouth University. Preliminary investigation of the effectiveness of an intervention to prevent oral disease in a highly vulnerable child population. Kay EJ, Quinn C, Witton R (2016)

·    £78,000 (external). Wrigley Global Oral Health Fund. To deliver the “open wide and step inside” oral health education intervention using Immersive Vision Technology in Plymouth primary schools. Witton R, Tredwin C, Smith W (2015)

·    £60,000 (internal). Plymouth University. Investigation into the relationship between dental caries and obesity in young children. Kay EJ, Witton R, Lapthorne D (2014)

·    £109,000 (external). Wrigley Global Oral Health Fund. To develop an innovative pilot oral health education intervention for children aged 4-5 years using Immersive Vision Technology. Witton R (2013)

·    £5,000 (external). NHS North Devon. To investigate referrals from primary care to specialist services for routine exodontia. Moles D, Mills, I, Nasser M, Witton R (2012)

Other grants and contracts 

·    £470,254 (external). NHS England. Devon supervised tooth brushing scheme and evaluation. PDSE and Well Connected (2019)

·    £3,500 (external). North Yard Community Trust. “Creating Smiles” oral health resources box for distribution and training. Smith W, Witton R (2017)

·    £100,000 (external). Plymouth City Council. To deliver the oral health component of the Child Poverty Action Plan (2017)

·    £10,000 (external). Public Health England. To develop marketing campaign for children’s oral health in Plymouth. Witton R, Nelder R (2017)

·    £9,200 (external). Active Plus. To co-deliver with ActivePlus “Talking Teeth” an oral health support network for veterans and isolated rural elderly in Cornwall. Smith W, Witton R (2017)

·    £3,000 (external). Drake Impact Fund. To train child care workers to become ‘dental buddies’ and to support delivery of supervised tooth brushing clubs. Application led by Millfields Trust with Smith W, Witton R (2016)

·    £10,000 (external). British Dental Health Foundation. To pilot supervised tooth brushing programmes in Surestart centres in deprived areas of Plymouth. Witton R, Smith W, Jones G (2011)

Refereed articles 

Coelho C, Witton R, Smith W. Assisting communication in the dental setting; a student team working initiative with stroke patients. Journal of Disability and Oral Health 2018 19/1, 10-13

Paisi M, Kay E, Kaimi I, Witton R, Nelder R, Potterton R, Lapthorne D. Obesity and Caries in Four-to-Six year old English Children: A Cross-Sectional Study. BMC Public Health 2018 18, 267

Paisi M, Kay EJ, Kaimi I, Witton R, Nelder R, Christophi C, Lapthorne D. Childhood Obesity and Dental Caries in Young English Children: A Spatial Analysis. Community Dental Health 2018 35(1), 58-64

Witton R, Potterton R, Smith W. Communities in action – developing a dental ambassador programme for adults with learning disability. Community Dental Health 2017 34, 77-79

Witton R, Potterton R, Smith W. Abstract. A dental ambassador programme. Journal of Disability and Oral Health 2016 17(1), 51-52

Witton R, Moles DR. Identifying dentists’ attitudes towards prevention guidance using Q-sort methodology. Community Dental Health 2015 32, 72-77

Witton R, Brown N, Smith W. Abstract. Reaching out – a case study of dental education through social and community engagement. Eur J Dent Educ 2014 18, e13

Witton R, Moles DR. Barriers and facilitators that influence the delivery of prevention guidance in health service dental practice: A questionnaire study of practising dentists in Southwest England. Community Dental Health 2013 30, 71-76

Witton R. Oral health and diabetes – where next for the dental team? Dental Health 2010 49(3), 6-9

Witton R. Bite size oral health promotion. Dental Update 2010 37, 382-388

Ethunandan M, Witton R, Hoffman G, Spedding A, Brennan PA. Atypical features in pleomorphic adenoma – a clinicopathologic study and implications for management. Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2006 35, 608-612.

Witton R, Henthorn K, Ethunandan M, Harmer S, Brennan PA. Neurological complications following extrusion of sodium hypochlorite solution during root canal treatment. Int Endod J 2005 38(11), 843-8.

Witton R, Brennan PA. Severe tissue damage and neurological deficit following extrusion of sodium hypochlorite solution during routine endodontic treatment.
Br Dent J 2005; 198 9(12), 749-50.

Witton R. Facial sinus of dental origin. Dent Update 2002 29(10), 514