Homeless charity calls for urgent action, as study shows that 1 in 6 resort to DIY dental treatment

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A homeless charity has appealed for urgent action to be taken, after a new study revealed that 1 in 6 homeless people attempt to extract their own teeth.

The report compiled by Groundswell revealed that 70 percent of people have lost teeth since living on the streets and 17 percent have lost teeth as a result of violent attacks. Seven percent of those surveyed had no natural teeth.

The findings of the study were discussed in the House of Commons recently, and MP Stella Creasy told the government that it was no surprise that homeless people are resorting to extreme measures because they cannot access dental services. Asking to meet with health minister, Jackie Doyle-Price, Ms Creasy expressed an interest in discussing measures that could be introduced to improve access to dental care for the homeless and to try and prevent more cases of dental disease among the homeless population. Ms Doyle-Price accepted the invitation, and stated that it is clear that a number of people living on the street aren’t able to access the treatment they require.

The survey highlighted problems with access, but it also provided an insight into the impact of dental health issues. Around a third of those surveyed said that dental pain limited their ability to live a fulfilling life and to socialise and engage in community life.

Chair of England Community Dental Services at the British Dental Association, Charlotte Waite, said that the report suggests that dental policies are failing to protect the most vulnerable patients in society.

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