Encouraging more people to attend the dentist

We created a campaign to encourage more people to attend the dentist

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How do you get more people to attend the dentist?

We have designed and delivered two oral health projects - one in Sandwell in the West Midlands and one in Nottingham City.

Nottingham City has one of the worst records in England for the number of decayed, missing and filled teeth. In Sandwell, many people were choosing to get their teeth removed by the A&E department. The NHS wanted to do something about both these issues and asked us to help with the challenge of getting more people to attend the dentist.

toothbrush dental health

Understanding why people don't go to the dentist was critical to both these campaigns.

Following research we recommended that the NHS should develop their city smiles programme and reposition the brand. We designed a bespoke segmentation model that put people into certain groups based on their reason for not going to the dentist that extended beyond fear including being in denial, making excuses, forgetful and ‘feeling the pinch’.

We suggested a number of options that engaged specific target groups such as a mobile service, a dental spa, incentives, fluoride in the water, prompts and reminders to target segments and rewarding and sustaining behaviour once engaged. We also felt that the word dentist conjured up too many negative images for people and it was time to introduce a new, more friendly vision for dentistry.

In the West Midlands, we were asked to help the local NHS persuade people in Oldbury and Tipton in the Borough of Sandwell to visit an NHS dentist. We conducted a thorough scoping phase identifying local areas in the borough where uptake was low. To assess current service provision we also conducted a mystery shopping exercise to identify gaps in provision and quality levels expected. We discovered key insights that contributed to a campaign strategy and future commissioning intentions. A co-creation workshop was also conducted in each area to help design a campaign that would resonate with key target groups. We involved dentists and local people in the campaign design. For more information on oral health campaigns please contact the campaign team.