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​Brush DJ dentist wins SBRI Healthcare funding to improve oral health education

26 February 2019

The BDA congratulates dentist Ben Underwood, dentist an developer of the popular Brush DJ app, for winning funding from the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Healthcare to help tackle the growing problem of tooth decay in children.

The funding from SBRI Healthcare will aid further research and development into the app to further assist with the prevention of tooth decay in children.

The competition was launched by NHS England in partnership with the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) and aims to identify and support innovative new products and services which have the potential to improve patient outcomes. It is the first competition of its kind to focus on oral health.

One hundred and seventy children and teenagers in England are undergoing tooth extractions under general anaesthesia in hospitals in England every day.


This costs £36 million a year – and the number of operations has increased by 17% since 2012.

The BDA was delighted to support Ben's bid for this funding, highlighting the value of the app, which helps change people's behaviour and encourages good oral health by regular and sustained brushing for two minutes, which our Health and Science Committee recommends.

The SBRI award, which in phase 1 includes funding of up to £100k, will be used to explore the scientific, technical feasibility and commercial viability of adding enhanced features to the existing Brush DJ app.

All potential features will be co-designed with children at highest risk of tooth decay and their carers, and will be developed in collaboration with key stakeholders. The team will then apply for phase 2 of the competition, and if successful will secure funding of up to £1 million.

Ben Underwood, CEO of Brush DJ Ltd said:

"It is amazing to have not only this financial support and recognition, but, critically, access to the expertise of SBRI and its partners. Having been part of the NHS Innovation Accelerator programme, I understand that in order to scale an innovation and gain widespread adoption, we will need champions from within all areas of healthcare. This award will allow us to take Brush DJ to the next level by recruiting a team of experts so that we can reach and help more children at risk of tooth decay."


Watch our video of Ben talking about his app and his work as a GDP:





Improving oral health

Prevention should be at the heart of any effective healthcare strategy. Tooth decay, an almost entirely preventable condition, remains the leading cause of hospital admissions among children in the UK. Successive governments have failed to provide dentists with the plans or priority to deliver on it – here's what we are calling for.

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