Seafit provides Smiles at Sea

Smile Together Dental CIC, The Fishermen's Mission and the Seafarers’ Hospital Society

 

Nationally 48% of adults and 42% of children have no access to an NHS dentist and numbers are much higher in fishing communities. In Cornwall alone 1,000 children each year are admitted for tooth extractions while there are around 25,000 people on the NHS dental waiting list.
 
Fishermen are often even more disadvantaged in accessing dental services due to the transient nature of their work which makes pre-booking appointments difficult. Moreover, planning time off from work is reliant on the weather, tides and where fish species are located.
 
The overall aim of the national Seafit Programme and Smile:Together’s SmilesatSea Dental Project in Cornwall and Devon, was to test the effectiveness of mobile dental services to help identify the longer-term services needed to improve the oral health of local fishermen and their families. Along with charity partners, the Fishermen's Mission and Seafarers Hospital Society and with full funding from Seafarers UK, SmilesAtSea delivered free dental and oral cancer checks to fishermen and their families who make a living off the coast of Cornwall in 2018/19. 
 
Smile:Together's mobile dental unit travelled round the county for 3 weeks, delivering over 170 dental checks and referring over 80 people for further care and treatment.

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