Dental duo launches charity to help the homeless in Glasgow

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A dental duo has set up a charity to help the homeless in Glasgow. Abdulwahab Aslam-Pervez and Declan Cairns decided to establish the Dental Initiative after learning about the shocking lack of access to oral hygiene resources and supplies in homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Declan has spoken to patients about the situation and he’d also spent time talking to people living on the streets, who informed him that basic supplies, like toothbrushes, weren’t readily available.

After putting their heads together to come up with a plan, the pair now visits Cadogen Street Soup Kitchen every fortnight to dole out bags containing tubes of toothpaste and toothbrushes. The charity also provides warm blankets, hats and scarves and small bottles of hand sanitiser.

Declan, who spends most of the working week at Urban Dental on St George’s Street, said that he had come across a number of people who complained about not having a toothbrush or not knowing how to see a dentist when he stopped to give homeless people money or buy them a hot drink or some food. For many people, brushing your teeth comes low down the list when you’re struggling to keep warm or find food, but dental health is so important and the young dentists wanted to do something that would benefit the city’s homeless population.

Initially, it was hard to try and persuade people to get on board, Declan admitted, but now, word of mouth has helped to increase the popularity of the scheme, and more and more people are turning up at the shelter to take advantage of the work done by the Dental Initiative. Some people are even going to register with a dental practice, and this has pleased the dental duo enormously.

Declan and Abdulwahab have recruited volunteers to help them out, and they are working with local practices to supply oral hygiene products. The other items provided in the bags, such as warm clothing, is funded by donations.

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