The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Super Saturday across two Yorkshire hospitals encourages families to brush up on dental hygiene

17 March 2023

Saturday 18 March will see Leeds Children’s Hospital teaming up with Sheffield Children's Hospital to  focus on young children and young people's oral health. At Leeds a ‘big brush’ event will bring together patients across the hospital for a mass tooth-brushing event to raise awareness of dental hygiene and the important role it plays in overall health.  

Super Saturdays were developed by the Children’s Hospitals Alliance in response to the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, including increased waiting lists. Over time these national events, have evolved to focus on different elements of children’s health, education and community involvement as well as additional clinical work.

At 10.30am on Leeds’ fourth Super Saturday; patients, families, nurses and other staff will stop what they’re doing to take part in the first ever Leeds Children’s Hospital ‘big brush’. Hospital staff are aiming to see as many children and young people as possible brushing their teeth to music for the recommended two minutes. The Big Brush will be followed by a day of fun educational activities all about dental hygiene. Hospital staff will be joined by colleagues from Leeds Dental Institute.

Childhood dental extractions resulting from poor dental hygiene are extremely common, especially in under 10s and disproportionally affects children from areas with high levels of deprivation. In an attempt to tackle health inequalities and support some of our most vulnerable children, NHSE has identified 5 clinical areas for additional support and oral health is one of the areas highlighted for accelerated improvement. 

Specialist paediatric dentists from Leeds Dental Institute said:  

‘The Big Brush is a great opportunity for us to deliver important preventative advice to patients and their families in a fun and engaging way. It is a simple and inexpensive method to educate families about the importance of good oral health and what the impact of poor oral health can have on the body. By brushing twice a day for two minutes with a fluoridated toothpaste and reducing sugars in between meals we can significantly reduce dental decay in children.’  

Sheffield Children’s has the Sheffield University 'Smile Squad' visiting the hospital to help teach children, young people and their families about the best tips for keeping teeth healthy. Alongside the squad, there are additional oral health surgeries taking place at the hospital all weekend. On Saturday, lots of helpful information being shared on the health bus and at health information stalls across the city.

Super Saturday at Leeds Children’s Hospital will also see members of the Diabetes Team running a special day of outdoor activity and education at Herd Farm Activity Centre, north of Leeds for 11 patients with type two diabetes.

The day will be a mix of physical activity and education and is designed to improve awareness among teen patients about the importance of healthy lifestyles and ongoing management of their condition. The physical activities, delivered by Herd Farm outdoor instructors will include an assault course, tug of war and orienteering.

Clinical staff from Leeds Children’s Hospital Diabetes Service (including doctors, specialist nurses, dieticians and youth workers) will deliver informal education sessions around navigating heathy food choices, tackling some of the myths around type two diabetes as well as sessions on emotions, relationships and alcohol.

James Yong – Paediatric Diabetes Consultant said: 

‘Moving away from the clinical setting gives our patients the opportunity to be physically active in a relaxed and engaging way. The planned activities are designed to facilitate peer support and confidence building. Super Saturday at Herd Farm allows our patients to access opportunities they may not normally have.’  

Eating well and being physically activity are the cornerstones of managing type 2 diabetes. There can be lots of barriers to making lifestyle changes. Super Saturday is about exploring those barriers and ways they can be overcome’

Sheffield Children’s will also be focusing on supporting patients with sleep issues on the day. They’ll be running specialist sleep clinics for 50 patients alongside sharing their sleep knowledge at Meadowhall, the health bus at Tesco Infirmary Road and stalls at The Moor in Sheffield City Centre and Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Suzanne Abrahams, General Manager at Leeds Children’s Hospital:

“Super Saturday is a brilliant opportunity to implement innovative approaches to patient care. I’m delighted that this Super Saturday we’re working alongside other children’s hospitals to support our patients and their families beyond their hospital treatment."

Other initiatives at Leeds Children’s Hospital this Super Saturday include: additional cardiac catheter procedures, innovative breath tests for gastroenterology patients, virtual physiotherapy sessions and the launch of ‘Food for Families’ vouchers – supporting parents with the costs associated with long stays in hospital.