Fisherfolk and their families are being offered free dental checks, emergency treatment and oral cancer screening in four fishing ports across Cornwall and Devon next week, thanks to Smile Together Dental CIC. The treatment will relieve any immediate dental problems, including simple tooth extraction, permanent fillings and scale and polish with referrals through NHS routes where more complex oral surgery is required.
Oral health packs for the fisherfolk who attend will include a toothbrush, toothpaste and two minute timer, along with top dental tips for all the family and in some locations there will be healthy lifestyle advice and information from other healthcare providers.
This year Smiles at Sea is being entirely funded by Smile Together and delivered in partnership with The Fishermen’s Mission and Healthy Cornwall.
According to project lead Joy Callender, “This will be the fifth year Smile Together have visited local harboursides, although in Autumn 2020 it was an oral health tour as the pandemic meant we were unable to provide treatment from a mobile dental unit. We’re passionate about tackling oral health inequality in our communities, in this case helping to improve the oral health of fisherfolk who so rarely get to see a dentist due to the demands of their work.”
Those who attended Smiles at Sea last year found it extraordinarily valuable, with comments including, “I should have taken much better care of my teeth years ago - I will definitely come back to see you next year … very helpful and friendly… thank you for putting in the time and effort to help us… 10/10 … fantastic scheme for the fishermen”.
The 2021 #SmilesAtSeaUK tour starts in Newlyn on Monday October 4 and finishes in Brixham on Friday October 8, visiting Newquay and Mevagissey along the way.
Joy continues: “Every eligible person who sees our dentist will be entered into a free prize draw and there will also be goodies available for anyone who brings along their old toothbrushes, empty toothpaste tubes and associated packaging for recycling through our commitment to Colgate Terra Cycle. We are so looking forward to making a difference in our coastal communities next week.”
In previous years, Smiles at Sea has been generously funded by Seafarers Hospital Society and Seafarers’ Charity as part of their national Sea Fit programme, and delivered in partnership with The Fishermen’s Mission, Healthy Cornwall and other local healthcare providers. Smiles at Sea is an award-winning programme having won ‘best outreach or charity initiative’ in the national Dental Awards 2019 and shortlisted as ‘project of the year’ in the Third Sector Business Charity Awards 2020.