BSPD pushes for equitable children’s oral health at 2023 conference


  Posted by: Dental Design      20th September 2023

Proving ever-popular, BSPD saw over 340 of the Society’s members gather in Newcastle’s Northumbria University for the much anticipated Annual Scientific Conference which focused this year on ‘Tipping the scales – making a fairer world for children in the future.’

The Society’s incoming President, Professor Paula Waterhouse, who is taking over the role from Dr Jenny Harris, opened the two-day conference on 14th September with her welcome to delegates that set out her vision for equality, diversity and inclusion to be reflected in all content in dental institutes’ curricula for under-graduates and post-graduates.

Dr Oliver Sumner, Local Organising Committee Chair & Professor Paula Waterhouse, BSPD President

‘Deep End’, health inequalities & dentistry

The conference heard from Dr Sarah Sowden, Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Public Health, Newcastle University who explored health inequalities by taking BSPD members through the Deep End primary care network[1] and work on engaging primary care practitioners to reduce health inequalities. Dr Sowden reminded us of the significance of the CORE20PLUS5 CYP[2] initiative. As part of this presentation we then heard from a sessional GP and clinical lead, Dr Sameena Hassan, on how her team is working with BSPD’s Professor Chris Vernazza to explore how the learnings from the Deep End Practice Networks might translate to a Deep End Dentistry Network providing oral health services for the most vulnerable.

Influencing effectively for children’s health equities

Highlights from the second day saw Professor Rebecca Harris, Professor of Dental Public Health, University of Liverpool explaining to BSPD members how important the ‘chat’ phase of patient interaction can be as part of helping to improve health inequalities through opening up insights into an individual’s life and perspective. Professor Harris also gave thoughts on how to influence national policy with advice to be solutions-focused when it comes to an advocacy approach.

In addition to topics relevant to ED&I, the conference covered a number of other interesting subjects:

What’s new in cariology?

We saw a number of specialist guest speakers invited from across the world. Professor Yasmi Crystal, Clinical Professor, New York University talked about her work in the US to prevent caries in children using some of the latest research understandings and developments. Her ‘What’s new in cariology?’ presentation covered the multifactorial aetiology of caries and how it differs from other infections. She covered the importance of a balanced approach and celebrated the evolution a number of years back of children under the age of three being able to have fluoride in their toothpaste, which has delivered significant improvements.

Making dentistry sustainable

We then moved on to the responsibility of the dental profession to be sustainable, with Laura Middlemass, Assistant Sustainability Manager, Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust talking about sustainability and NHS dentistry. Followed by ‘Experiences of the first carbon-neutral eye surgery’ presented by Dr Sandro Di Simplicio, Consultant at Royal Victoria Infirmary. He showed the audience a thought-provoking presentation on how dentistry can learn from efforts made in ophthalmology to improve dentistry’s carbon footprint.

We then looked at mitigating the environmental  and occupational risks of nitrous oxide with a presentation by pharmacist, Ms Alifia Chakera, Health of Pharmaceutical Sustainability, Scottish Government. She talked the audience through her anaesthetic nitrous oxide research and what this means for dentistry – with the call for a strategy and guidance for dental professionals.

And finally, Professor Paul Ashley, Professor in Paediatric Dentistry, UCL Eastman presented on sustainable dentistry for the paediatric dentist. Professor Ashley reminded members, that the climate crisis is recognised by UNICEF as a children’s rights crisis. He married this statement with the BSPD mission statement, which has a key focus to look after the overall wellbeing of children. Through optimistic communications, rather than a pessimistic approach, Paul rallied dentists to become advocates for sustainability change – with BSPD being part of this movement.

Awards and poster prizes

BSPD President’s Medal

After the presentations, the results of the much anticipated awards and poster prize presentations were announced.  The results are as follows:

  • Undergraduate Poster Prize (sponsored by BSPD Teachers’ Branch)
    Winner: Yasmin Egonu, University of Manchester who presented ‘Expanding the community reach of undergraduate paediatric dentistry – the DiPS project’
  • Clinical Case Award (sponsored by RA Medical Services)
    Winner: Claudia Heggie, Academic Clinical Fellow and StR in Paediatric Dentistry, University of Leeds. Who presented ‘Everything everywhere all at once: multi-disciplinary management of multiple, concurrent dental anomalies.’
  • Research Award (sponsored by the Consultants in Paediatric Dentistry Group)
    Winner: Suzie Welford, StR In Paediatric Dentistry, University of Leeds and Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust Community Dental Services who presented ‘Does a Self-help Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Intervention Reduce Dental Anxiety in Children?’
  • Jane Goodman Clinical Governance Award
    Winner: Chris Wallace, StR In Paediatric Dentistry, Newcastle Dental Hospital who presented ‘Dental Pathway for Paediatric Nephrology Patients: A Quality Improvement Project.’
  • DCP Poster Prize
    Winner: Lisa Sharp, Senior Dental Nurse, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust whose poster focused on ‘Implementing an electronic consent process in a school-based dental survey.’
  • Poster Prize
    Winner: Nathalie Gallichan, NIHR ACF and StR in Paediatric Dentistry, University of Liverpool whose poster focused on ‘Dental trauma attendances to Emergency Departments: A multicentre service evaluation, North-West, England.’
  • Delegates Choice Poster Prize (sponsored by BSPD Northern Branch)
    Winner: Harriet Jones, Dental Officer, Mid Yorkshire NHS Teaching Hospitals whose poster focused on ‘Childhood Obesity and Dental General Anaesthetics.’

Reflecting on the conference, BSPD’s incoming President, Professor Paula Waterhouse said: “The enthusiasm in the auditorium from delegates was tangible. Attendance at our conference this year strongly indicates a determination among the Nations’ paediatric dental profession to collaborate to drive the Society’s mission to advocate for accessible, quality paediatric oral health for all children and young people. 

“It is the ALL part of this vision that I am particularly interested in, and where I want to focus as we build on my ED&I research. BSPD will be leading the way to ensure that paediatric dentistry students understand unconscious bias and that they are exposed to content – written and visual – that is entirely inclusive by design.”


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