Fishermen in Devon and Cornwall to receive free dental treatment

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Fishermen in Devon and Cornwall are set to receive free dental treatment as part of a charity partnership between SeaFit and Smile Together.

The initiative will enable fishermen from both counties to attend free clinics at ports around the region. The #SmilesAtSea tour will begin on Monday 9th September in Newlyn, with clinics planned for Looe, Padstow, Mevagissey, Hayle, Brixham, Ilfracombe and Newquay. The last stop will be Plymouth on Friday the 27th September. 

SeaFit has been running dental sessions for the last two years, and the charity is hoping to build on previous successes to run the biggest and best tour so far. Fishermen often struggle to access dental treatment, due to the antisocial hours they work, and as a result, oral diseases tend to be more commonplace. SeaFit’s partnership with Smile Together will enable those who usually find it difficult to get to the dentist to access the care they need. The service will benefit fishermen and their families. 

SeaFit’s project delivery manager, Carol Elliott, said that the team is really looking forward to working with Smile Together again and returning to Cornwall and Devon. The new programme, which has been expanded, will enable more fishermen and their families to benefit from free routine dental checks and urgent treatment.

Last year, volunteers from Smile Together saw 115 dental patients on the tour, which took in seven ports over the course of two weeks. Around 40 patients were referred to local NHS dentists for further treatment. 

The demand for dental care is high among the fishing community. Joy Callender, Smiles at Sea project lead for Smile Together, explained that more than 70% of the patients seen last year hadn’t been to the dentist for at least 5 years.

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