Nicola Kennedy, senior medical affairs scientist for Aquafresh at GSK, talks to editor Victoria Galligan about educating children on oral hygiene and the brand's STEM-based Inventors Academy Competition.
Are school children in the UK generally brushing their teeth properly or is there room for improvement?
There are some startling statistics about kids’ oral hygiene levels in the UK. Research released by Public Health England in April 2018 shows that every 10 minutes a child in England has a rotten tooth removed. There is certainly room for improvement and we want to support parents and teachers to do something about it.
What can schools do to help encourage good oral hygiene?
According to research, almost half (48%) of children lie about brushing their teeth, so there is a job to do in educating kids about why good oral hygiene is important, but in an engaging and fun way. This year, in conjunction with the launch of Aquafresh Advance for 9-12 year olds, we’ve launched the Aquafresh Inventors Academy competition to help make brush time more fun.
The Aquafresh Inventors Academy competition supports teachers in educating kids on the importance of oral hygiene, linked to the National Curriculum, whilst bringing fun to the subject with an invention competition. Teachers are encouraged to download fully comprehensive lesson plans, presentations and materials at aquafreshinventorsacademy.com to share with their pupils and get them excited about good oral hygiene and brushing their teeth. There is already a shortage of technical skills and experience in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), so we hope the invention competition will be extremely beneficial for schools to incorporate into their lesson schedule to help inspire children to consider STEM as a career option in the future. From toothbrush maracas to flying toothpaste tubes, we can’t wait to see all of the imaginative entries over the next few months!
'The oral hygiene competition is children's chance to get creative and get inventing!'
What does the Aquafresh Inventors Academy ask the children to invent?
Children will be tasked with drawing their very own brush time invention to make brushing teeth more enjoyable – from maraca toothbrushes, to bathroom disco lights. This is their chance to get creative, get involved and get inventing. Using a simple entry form, parents will then be asked to upload their child’s invention to the Aquafresh Inventors Academy microsite, giving their child the chance to win an amazing prize.
What is the prize in the competition?
We have one amazing prize on offer for the winner. The winning invention will be created by Dominic Wilcox, Chief Inventor at Little Inventors, and the lucky winner will win a class sleepover at the Science Museum on 6th July 2018 and up to £1,000 worth of equipment for their school.
Can schools enter pupils in the competition and are there school resources available?
Teachers are encouraged to download fully comprehensive lesson plans, presentations and materials from aquafreshinventorsacademy.com to kick off the competition in the classroom. The entry forms will then need to be taken home so parents can upload their child’s invention to the same microsite, along with their name and number as part of the process.
What is the deadline and how are entries submitted?
Open to every primary school within the UK, the competition closes on the 31st May and is open to children between the ages of 7 and 11 (school years three to six). Entries can be submitted via a simple entry form on aquafreshinventorsacademy.com. Parents can download a competition template, take a picture of their child’s drawing and then upload their invention drawing on the template provided and complete the form on the website. The winner will be selected by a panel of judges including inventor Dominic Wilcox and a member of the Science Museum. The winner will be notified in advance of the sleepover at the Science Museum on 6th July 2018 so the necessary logistics can be put in place.