On Sunday, May 8, London-based charity, the Dental Wellness Trust will provide urgent, free of charge oral health screenings and restorative dentistry for 35 child refugees and child asylum seekers living in the boroughs of Barnet, Camden and Westminster. This is part of the Dental Wellness Trust’s new ambitious programme, Livesmart Dental Care, which bridges the deeply worrying gap where very few NHS dental practices are able to take additional patients due to limited capacity, financial resource and thousands of dentists exiting the profession.
After Linda Greenwall (founder of Dental Wellness Trust) was contacted in March 2022 by Westminster Child Services with an urgent request to carry out routine oral health screenings on this group of vulnerable children who came to London with their families from loving homes during the pandemic, she and her experienced team of dental volunteers agreed immediately that an urgent (and self-funded) oral health intervention was required.
Initially, the self-funded Livesmart Dental Care programme will operate from Linda’s private dental practice in Hampstead Heath and will continue to provide oral health screenings and restorative dentistry regularly over the next six months for London’s other child refugees and asylum seekers – aiming to have treated over 1,000 children. Since many of these children have never visited a dentist before and often experience excruciating pain and become absent from school as a consequence, it’s anticipated that they will now need up to 20 fillings each as well as fluoride varnish to prevent dental decay.
The charity is also currently renovating its new mobile dental unit which will be stationed permanently at the Dental Centre for Refugee Children in Camden with volunteers offering free treatment and preventative advice to those most in need.
Linda says, “Without question, the impact of poor oral health on quality of life is of urgent importance for these populations who are outside their habitual healthcare system, have limited financial resources and have lost their social support network. This is why urgent initiatives such as the Livesmart Dental Care programme are vital in providing essential treatment, interventions and preventative advice to these children and their parents and help reduce the risk, in later life, for chronic diseases.
“However, the government cannot expect dentists to fund these much-needed public health programmes. Good oral health is every child’s basic human right and it’s therefore shameful that certain children are being denied this because of so called ‘limited resources’ by ministers.”
To find out more about Livesmart Dental Care programme, contact firstname.lastname@example.org