Oral Health Educator Helen Kellett is all smiles as she waves goodbye to her career in dental health.
Helen, who retired this week, has been devoted to the dental profession and spent her career working in a variety of roles across Lancashire. She has worked in dentistry for 44 years and 19 of those have been in Blackpool Community Dental Services.
“I joined Blackpool Community Dental Services in 2000 as a dental educator and my role involved going out in the community to engage with schools and families to promote good dental hygiene.
“I wanted to go into my role as Oral Health Educator because of a little girl I looked after, when I was working as a dental nurse at the start of my career.
“This girl was so frightened and gripped my hand tightly the whole time during her treatment. She was only four years old and all her teeth needed to be filled in order to save them. It was at this point I realised that there was a way of stopping this and something could be done to help.’’
Helen attended night school to prepare for her new role as an oral health educator and completed an adult teaching certificate.
Once qualified she started work firstly in Preston and then moved to her new role in Blackpool.
“My role is to inspire others to look after their own dental health and to communicate clear messages that are easy to understand.” Helen said.
“I do a lot of educational and promotional work around dental care and this involves training up health visitors, school nurses, parents, nursery staff and health professionals. I’ll train anyone!
“I tailor the messages to suit the audience and I go into children’s centres, nurseries and community areas to demonstrate and promote good oral hygiene.
“I have devoted my life to improving dental health and I will really miss working with such a great team. I have been blessed with everyone I have worked with. They have all embraced the information and done a fantastic job.
“Dental care is so important, and paramount to a healthy body.”
Other initiatives have been put in place by Blackpool Council and Better Start to encourage good dental hygiene.
There are many national campaigns in place such as National Smile Month, Mouth Cancer Action Month, and the Give Up Loving Pop (GULP) campaign, which help to support good dental care.
The prevalence of dental decay has reduced over recent years. Public Health England figures for 2018 show that 75.1 per cent of Blackpool five-year-olds are free from any dental decay, significantly higher than the 57.5 per cent recorded three years ago.