Dr Zoe Allen

Dr Zoe Allen

Honorary Clinical Lecturer/Consultant in Dental Public Health

Peninsula Dental School (Faculty of Health)

Dr Zoe Allen can be contacted through arrangement with our Press Office, to speak to the media on these areas of expertise.
  • Dentistry
  • Primary Dental Care Policy


Zoe is a Consultant in Dental Public Health at NHS England South West and an Honorary Clinical Lecturer with the University of Plymouth.  

Zoe works with local government and the NHS to reduce inequalities in oral health and to improve oral health and access to dental services for people living in South West England. She is the regional coordinator for the National Dental Epidemiology Programme, which generates high quality information about the population's oral health, to inform the commissioning of health improvement programmes and dental services. Zoe's particular interests include rural and coastal inequalities, mouth care support for dependent adults and improving oral health for people experiencing multiple disadvantage.


Zoe graduated as a Bachelor of Dental Surgery with Honours at Newcastle University in 2000 and became a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh by examination in 2002. She gained her Masters’ degree in Public Health with Distinction from the University of the West of England in 2009. Zoe is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, having completed her Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Education with Distinction in 2012.  

Zoe has 15 years’ clinical experience in dentistry, managing dental patients who find routine dental care especially challenging. She completed her Vocational Training in general dental practice in County Durham and House Officer rotations at Newcastle Dental Hospital, before providing urgent dental care in North Yorkshire. After moving to the South West in 2003, Zoe’s clinical role focused upon providing holistic oral health care for young children with extensive dental decay, frail older people, people with learning disabilities and people experiencing social exclusion. She became a Senior Dental Officer with Somerset Primary Care Dental Service in 2005, leading delivery of the service’s dental epidemiology commitments until 2015. She has been a regional trainer and examiner for the National Dental Epidemiology Programme, and a fieldwork contributor for the 2009 Adult Dental Health Survey and the 2013 Child Dental Health Survey.

From 2011 to 2017, Zoe was an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in Primary Dental Care at Peninsula Dental School, contributing to clinical and academic teaching and assessment for undergraduate and postgraduate students. Zoe achieved her Fellowship of the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in June 2017. In 2018, Zoe was awarded a PhD for her thesis exploring dentists' perceptions of their professional roles regarding referrals within Primary Dental Care in England.  

Zoe completed academic specialty training in Dental Public Health at the University of Plymouth and Public Health England between 2017 and 2020. She is now a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and was appointed as a Consultant in Dental Public Health in South West England in 2020.

Professional membership

  • Fellowship of the Faculty of Dental Surgery, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
  • Fellowship of the Royal Society for Public Health
  • Membership of the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry



Teaching interests

Previously, as an Honorary Clinical Lecturer with Peninsula Dental School since 2011, Zoe facilitated clinical and academic aspects of undergraduate dental education. This included critical appraisal of evidence, simulated clinical skills training, clinical supervision of patient care and a community engagement project working with adults with learning disabilities. She co-developed and delivered online course materials on Managing Difficult Consultations for Plymouth University’s MBA in Healthcare.  

More recently, Zoe facilitated a community engagement project for Year 2 dental students, who explored the ways that primary dental care can be made more accessible to people living with dementia by considering how the dental team, practice policies and the physical environment of the dental practice can be developed to be more accommodating.



Research interests

Zoe's research interests include population oral health, dental public health, dental epidemiology, primary dental care and health services research.  

Her PhD thesis explored dentists’ perceptions of their professional roles and experiences of making and receiving referrals within the primary dental care setting in England.  The aim of this study is to generate understanding of what it means to be a dentist in primary dental care and how that may influence the use of referral services. Zoe's research included a systematic review of the referral pathways within primary dental care in the UK and a qualitative interview study involving general dental practitioners and community dentists working across England.  



Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Paisi M, Allen Z & Shawe J (2023) 'New Home, New You: A retrospective mixed‐methods evaluation of a health‐related behavioural intervention programme supporting social housing tenants' Health Expectations , DOI Open access
Allen Z & Witton R (2021) 'Investing to prevent: Description of an innovative approach to commissioning a supervised toothbrushing programme across multiple local authorities in England' COMMUNITY DENTAL HEALTH 38, (2) 66-70 Author Site , DOI Open access
Broomhead T, Rodd HD, Baker SR, Jones K, Davies G, White S, Wilcox D, Allen Z & Marshman Z (2020) 'National patterns in paediatric hospital admissions for dental extractions in England' Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology 49, (4) 322-329 , DOI
Allen Z (2020) 'Dentists’ perceptions of their professional roles regarding referrals within primary dental care in England: a qualitative study' Community Dental Health 37, (3) , 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 1-7 , DOI Open access