Mobile unit provides free dental checks for local fishermen in Devon and Cornwall
A mobile unit has provided free dental services for fishermen in Devon and Cornwall.
The Smiles at Sea mobile dental unit toured coastal spots recently, offering free dental check-ups and oral cancer screening for fishermen and their families. The unit has been touring a number of harbours in Cornwall, including Newlyn, Newquay and Mevagissey, as well as Brixham in Devon to make it easy for fishermen to access dental care.
As part of an initiative to improve oral health among fishermen and their families, dental teams offered routine checks, oral cancer screening and emergency dental treatment.
Due to their schedules and spending long periods away from home, it is often very difficult for members of fishing communities to access standard NHS services. The Smiles at Sea mobile unit brings dental care to people, eliminating the need to travel or join waiting lists.
As part of the scheme, patients are entitled to a range of treatments, including regular check-ups, tooth extraction, fillings and scale and polish. Everyone who attended the clinic was also given a free oral health pack, which contains a toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste, a 2-minute timer for brushing and oral hygiene advice guides.
The Smiles at Sea mobile dental unit was funded by Smiles at Sea and delivered in partnership with Healthy Cornwall and The Fishermen’s Mission.
Joy Callender, project lead, said that the aim is to improve oral health standards and ensure that fishing communities have access to routine and emergency dental treatment. The project has been running for five years, although in 2020, teams were only able to offer advice due to the pandemic.
This autumn’s dental tour started in Newlyn on October 4th and finished in Brixham on October 8th. The programme was awarded the Best Outreach or Charity Initiative at the National Dentistry Awards in 2019.
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