“Just one day?” - I hear you cry, for women to be recognised?
This year, this momentous ‘Day of Recognition’, carries the #choosetochallenge hashtag, and is rather apt for Brush-Baby, as my original business idea was to #choosetochallenge, not only the conventional design of dental-care products for children, but also the dental establishment, as I was a mum entering their hallowed territory!
My first and ‘hero’ product of the Brush-Baby collection for 0-10 year olds, is a Chewable Toothbrush. As a dutiful parent wanting the best dental start for my daughter – I wanted to introduce a toothbrushing routine as early as possible in her teeth development, even if she only had one tooth (as the sister of a dentist – I knew that the other teeth would be arriving in quick succession!). However, every time I tried to use a conventional-style toothbrush she would either laugh, turn away in defiance or chew on it!
Looking at the products on offer – which really amounted to just ‘cut-down’ versions of adult versions of toothbrushes, I realised that a) there was nothing suitable for my baby daughter and b) that there was a ‘gap’ in the market for products specifically aimed at parent/caregiver and children wanting to look after baby teeth.
In conjunction with a designer and with professional dental input I have developed a range of specific products to look after the oral welfare of children, from newborn babies to children wanting to exert their independence at toothbrushing time. Market research, reviewing and development amongst parents has led to the development of a range of Wipes, Toothpastes, Manual and Electric toothbrushes which are widely available on supermarkets shelves putting children’s oral health within arm’s reach of parents and caregivers.
I’m glad that as a woman, and a mum that I chose to challenge the multinationals with my concepts, making it easy for children’s gums to be cleaned after feeding to prevent milk sugar build-up and subsequent possible decay. Innovative designs which have seen specifically-designed children’s products - long-handles on infant toothbrushes for the caregiver to grip and hold with a small soft-bristled toothbrush head for small baby mouths and delicate gums. Toddler toothbrushes with integrated 2 minute timers and flashing lights to make toothbrushing fun and specifically formulated non-foaming palatable toothpastes for fussiest of taste buds!
Now that I have established my company as the generic name for baby and infant dental-care, my input doesn’t stop there. Today, I #choosetochallenge the ‘norm’ and the ‘establishment’, aiming to increase the profile, and emphasise the importance of children’s oral welfare.
I’m delighted and proud to be part of an All Party Parliamentary Group on ‘A Fit and Healthy Childhood’, aiming to put children’s dental health on the agenda and at the forefront of healthcare.
Apart from the vital aspects of teeth helping a child’s eating, learning and development – their oral health affects a child’s overall wellbeing, and that of a parent/caregiver looking after them.
Dental decay is one of the world’s most preventable diseases, and yet so many lives are affected from a societal and economic perspective, from disrupted sleep and family life, to lost work days due to looking after a poorly child.
With the extraction of teeth under general anaesthetic for children under 5 being the number one reason for hospital admissions, I will continue to #choose to challenge today on International Women’s Day and every day after that!