West Belfast community group brings smiles to local children with new dental initiative

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A community group based in West Belfast is bringing smiles to local children after setting up a new dental initiative.

Foodstock has launched ‘Wee Smiles,’ a weekend programme, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of good oral health and encourage parents and children to look after their teeth and gums. The scheme will provide free dental services for children at pre-school and primary school and will run on weekends.

Paul Doherty, founder of Foodstock, said that many parents have raised concerns about getting dental appointments for their children, with pressure growing on NHS dental services. Most people cannot afford private dentistry and dentists are struggling to cope with the rising demand for treatment. After speaking with local dentists, Paul is delighted to confirm that Foodstock has joined forces with Dr Shweta Lokhande to run free community clinics, which will provide dental supplies and education packs.

The aim of the Wee Smiles scheme is to encourage positive habits and provide access to oral health education and services in a really fun, informal way. The sessions, which take place at the community hub, are accessible and they offer a chance for local parents and children to get together.

Dr Shweta Lokhande said that the primary goal is to raise awareness and encourage parents to embrace preventative care to lower the risk of cavities and dental infections. Targeting young children is an effective way to reduce oral health risks and foster good habits, which will benefit children for years to come.

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