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Get your baby to the dentist by their first birthday, says TV’s Dr Ranj

BSPD’s Dental Check by One campaign is being reinvigorated thanks to a video with BAFTA award-winning TV presenter Dr Ranj. Hosted on the new BSPD Kidsvids page, the video joins three others starring the celebrity doctor, who is passionate about improving the health of children’s teeth.

As an NHS consultant paediatrician who works on the accident and emergency ward, Dr Ranj has first-hand experience of the consequences of dental decay. Sometimes, late at night he will encounter worried parents who have turned up at casualty because their child is screaming and they don’t know why. The problem can be a dental infection or an abscess caused by untreated dental decay.

The video concept was born following research among parents whose children had been referred into hospital with gross dental caries. The research was carried out to understand the best way to deliver preventive advice. Among the findings were that nearly all parents have mobile phones or tablets, their children watch TV programmes like CBeebies and they take advice from celebrities, usually via social media.

When Dr Ranj, the presenter of the CBeebies programme Get Well Soon, was asked by BSPD’s Claire Stevens in 2019 to work on a series of four brief videos for families, he was quick to agree. He could see the value of giving parents advice they could access on their mobiles.

The first three videos, Healthy Teeth Guides aimed at parents of children aged: zero to three, three to six, and seven plus were launched in May during the Covid-19 pandemic when communicating preventive advice to families was vital. The DCby1 video was delayed because face-to-face video examinations were not taking place.

Although not all dental practices are seeing their patients for routine appointments now, the time is right to promote to parents and carers the concept of a dental check by the age of one. Parents can then speak to their dental practice and take advice by phone or online until face-to-face appointments can be reintroduced.

The Dental Check by One video is just under three minutes long with clear and punchy messages. Dr Ranj is filmed at the home of mum Danielle Heximer. Danielle, who volunteered to interview Dr Ranj for the video, commented, “It was a real education! I had no idea that I should take my baby to the dentist by the age of one so it’s become a priority for us now. Dr Ranj gave me super helpful information to think about regarding my child’s teeth. I hope others will learn from it too.”

Edited into the Q&A with Danielle is some footage of consultant paediatric dentist Claire Stevens carrying out a lap-to-lap examination in order to examine the mouth of baby Mariella.

Her mother, Emma Onuma, said afterwards, “I wasn’t aware of the DCby1 campaign but I found the check-up really useful. It was a great way to introduce Mariella to the dental clinic environment and it was reassuring to hear that her teeth were developing as they should. I also picked up some fantastic tips on how to take care of her teeth and gums.”

The video was produced by BSPD and Brush DJ’s Ben Underwood with funding from Henry Schein Dental and Dentisan.