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A consultant orthodontist invited to Downing Street as part of NHS 75 Celebrations

A consultant orthodontist from University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust was invited to 10 Downing Street for a local NHS Champions celebration event to recognise the many local heroes who make difference to the NHS as part of NHS 75 celebrations.

Dr Karen Juggins, who is based at Royal Stoke University Hospital, was nominated to attend for her significant contribution to encourage young people to look after their teeth and promote a great smile through the Keep Stoke Smiling campaign.

Today Dr Juggins said: “It was an absolute honour to have been invited to Downing Street and meet Steve Barclay, Secretary of State for Health and Care. It was a fantastic opportunity to discuss the  desperate need to ‘revolutionise’  not just reform NHS dentistry as well as the retention of hospital consultants and how NHS public health campaigns need to be more creative.”

Keep Stoke Smiling is a social media and community-driven campaign targeting teenagers and young adults to encourage and promote the benefits of looking after their teeth. It was launched by Dr Juggins in 2018 after seeing the devastating effects of sugary drinks on her young patients.

The campaign now has the backing of Championship football club Stoke City and the Premier League, through their Premier League Primary Stars programme who have endorsed and support the project nationally with dental health workshops in all primary schools and all schools to become 'fizz free'.

Dr Juggins said: “It was such a great opportunity to highlight the importance of oral health among our younger population. I explained that more than 40,000 children are admitted to hospital each year to have teeth removed due to dental decay, which is an entirely preventable disease.

“Keep Stoke Smiling hopes to revolutionise the way dental health messages are delivered and hopefully with national support we can make the shift from the NHS telling people what to do to creating a more engaging approach to involve and inspire young people to look after their dental health using motivating factors like football.”