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
Chief Executive 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)
Chair, Public Health Committee (British Dental Association)


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)

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

Other research

Witton R. Open Wide and Step Inside. Research Outreach. Issue 111. (2019)

Harman C, Allen Z, Nelder R, Witton R. Plymouth Oral Health Needs Assessment. Plymouth City Council (2019)

Warren S, Allen Z, Harwood P, Witton R. Special Care and Paediatric Southwest Needs Assessment Summary Report. NHS England and NHS Improvement (2019)

Allen Z, Harwood P, Ireland A, John J, Oliver J, Scott D, Sowerbutts J, Warren S, Witton R. South of England Paediatric and Special Care Needs Assessment Framework. Public Health England (2018)

Harwood P, Witton R, Allen Z. South West Orthodontic Needs Assessment. Public Health England (2015)

Harwood P, Witton R, Patel R, Woof M. South West Oral Health Needs Assessment. Public Health England (2014)

Moles D, Mills, I, Nasser M, Witton R. Factors that NHS general dental practitioners report influence their decision to make referrals from primary dental care to specialist surgical services for the extraction of teeth in North Devon. Plymouth University Peninsula School of Dentistry (2012)

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

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

Grants & contracts

Research grants 

£69,166. “The impact of inter-professional education in the dental curriculum on students’ views towards social accountability.” Principal Investigator (2020)

£143,029 (external). Post-doctoral fellowship. “Identifying Factors Influencing Oral health Habits and Dental care Access among Children and Young People with Autism: Evidence Synthesis and Qualitative Stakeholder Research” Co-investigator (2020)

£216,484K (external). NIHR Public Health Practice Evaluation Scheme. Health Visitor Oral Health Improvement Pilot (HVOHIP). Co-investigator (2019)

£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. Co-investigator (2017)

£128,000 (external). Post-doctoral fellowship. To investigate the oral health impact of the dental school and PDSE in Devon and Cornwall. Co-investigator (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’. Co-investigator (2016)

£60,000 (internal). Plymouth University. Preliminary investigation of the effectiveness of an intervention to prevent oral disease in a highly vulnerable child population. Co-investigator (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. Principal Investigator (2015)

£60,000 (internal). Plymouth University. Investigation into the relationship between dental caries and obesity in young children. Co-investigator (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. Principal Investigator (2013)

£5,000 (external). NHS North Devon. To investigate referrals from primary care to specialist services for routine exodontia. Co-investigator (2012)


Social impact and community grants 

£470,254 (external). NHS England. Devon supervised tooth brushing scheme and evaluation. Principal Investigator (2019)

£3,500 (external). North Yard Community Trust. “Creating Smiles” oral health resources box for distribution and training. Principal Investigator (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. Principal Investigator (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. Principal Investigator (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. Principal Investigator (2016)

£10,000 (external). British Dental Health Foundation. To pilot supervised tooth brushing programmes in Surestart centres in deprived areas of Plymouth. Principal Investigator (2011)




Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Paisi M, Baines R, Burns L, Plessas A, Radford P, Shawe J & Witton R 2020 'Barriers and facilitators to dental care access among asylum seekers and refugees in highly developed countries: a systematic review' BMC Oral Health 20, (1) , DOI
Witton R & Paisi M 2020 'Homelessness on the curriculum?' British Dental Journal 229, (8) 501-501 , DOI Open access
Paisi M, Witton R, Withers L, Plessas A, Burrows M, Morrison S, McDonald L & Kay E 2020 'Strategies to improve oral health behaviours and dental access for people experiencing homelessness: a qualitative study' British Dental Journal , DOI Open access
Paisi M, Baines R, Worle C, Withers L & Witton R 2020 'Evaluation of a community dental clinic providing care to people experiencing homelessness: A mixed methods approach' Health Expectations , DOI Open access
Edwards D, Burns L, Witton R & Tredwin C 2020 'MTA or calcium hydroxide for direct pulp capping in fully developed permanent teeth: a systematic review' Endodontic Practice Today 14, (2) 91-102 Open access
Paisi M, Plessas A, Pampaka D, Burns L & Wilton R 2020 'Effect of treating carious teeth on children's and adolescents' anthropometric outcomes: A systematic review of randomised controlled trials' COMMUNITY DENTAL HEALTH 37, (1) 32-38 Author Site , DOI Open access
Paisi M, Witton R & Plessas A 2019 'Is there an association between children's screen use and cariogenic diet?' Evidence-Based Dentistry 20, (4) 115-116 , DOI Open access
Paisi M, Kay E, Burrows M, Withers L, Plessas A, McDonald L & Witton R 2019 ''Teeth Matter': engaging people experiencing homelessness with oral health promotion efforts' British Dental Journal 227, (3) 187-191 , DOI Open access
Webb L, Sandhu S, Morton L, Witton R, Withers L, Worle C & Paisi M 2019 'A dental student view on learning gained through Inter-Professional Engagement with people experiencing homelessness' Education for Primary Care 1-3 , DOI Open access
Witton R 2019 'Inconsistent approach in schools' British Dental Journal 226, (12) 912-913 , DOI Open access
Paisi M, Witton R, Burrows M, Allen Z, Plessas A, Withers L, McDonald L & Kay E 2019 'Management of plaque in people experiencing homelessness using 'peer education': a pilot study' British Dental Journal (BDJ) 226, (11) 860-866 , DOI Open access
Paisi M, Kay E, Bennett C, Kaimi I, Witton R, Nelder R & Lapthorne D 2019 'Body mass index and dental caries in young people: a systematic review' BMC Pediatrics 19, (1) , DOI Open access
Witton R & Smith W 2019 'A service evaluation of the “Open Wide and Step Inside” school oral health programme' BDJ Open 5, (1) , DOI Open access
Patel R, Witton R, Potterton R, Smith W & Kaimi (Deceased) I 2018 'Dental Public Health in Action: Understanding oral health care needs and oral health-related quality of life in vulnerable adults in Plymouth' Community Dental Health 35, (4) 197-200 Author Site , DOI Open access
Paisi M, Kay E, Kaimi I, Witton R, Nelder R, Christophi C & Lapthorne D 2018 'Obesity and dental caries in young children in Plymouth, United Kingdom: A Spatial Analysis' COMMUNITY DENTAL HEALTH 35, (1) 58-64 Author Site , DOI Open access
Paisi M, Kay E, Kaimi I, Witton R, Nelder R, Potterton R & Lapthorne D 2018 'Obesity and caries in four-to-six year old English children: a cross-sectional study' BMC Public Health 18, (1) , DOI Open access
Witton R, Potterton R & Smith W 2017 'Communities in action: developing a dental ambassador training programme for adults with learning disability' Community Dental Health 34, (2) 77-79 Author Site , DOI Open access
Witton RV & Moles DR 2015 'Identifying dentists' attitudes towards prevention guidance using Q-sort methodology' COMMUNITY DENTAL HEALTH 32, (2) 72-76 Author Site , DOI Open access
Witton RV & Moles DR 2013 '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 Dent Health 30, (2) 71-76 Author Site
Witton R 2010 'Bite size oral health promotion' Dent Update 37, (6) 382-388 Author Site , DOI
Ethunandan M, Witton R, Hoffman G, Spedding A & Brennan PA 2006 'Atypical features in pleomorphic adenoma--a clinicopathologic study and implications for management' Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg 35, (7) 608-612 Author Site , DOI
Witton R, Henthorn K, Ethunandan M, Harmer S & Brennan PA 2005 'Neurological complications following extrusion of sodium hypochlorite solution during root canal treatment' Int Endod J 38, (11) 843-848 Author Site , DOI
Witton R & Brennan PA 2005 'Severe tissue damage and neurological deficit following extravasation of sodium hypochlorite solution during routine endodontic treatment' Br Dent J 198, (12) 749-750 Author Site , DOI
Witton RV 2002 'Facial sinus of dental origin' Dent Update 29, (10) Author Site
Other Publications
2019 Underprivileged in Plymouth receive dental care. Springer Science and Business Media LLC , DOI Open access