Dentists go ‘street’ for Smile Month

‘Street’ dentists were out and about in Essex, offering free check-ups to children.

In a similar style to BBC TV’s Street Doctor  – in which a group of GPs take to the streets to offer primary care to patients – the dental check-ups were part of a number of activities to mark NHS 60 (the 60th anniversary of the National Health Service) and National Smile Month, which runs from 18 May to 17 June.

Children attending were given a goody bag with toothpaste, a toothbrush and leaflets on healthy eating and how to look after their teeth.

It was organised by the North East Essex Primary Care Trust (PCT) and gave children aged between two and 11 the chance to make sure their teeth were in good shape.

Kathy Flegg, from the PCT, said: ‘The focus of all of our National Smile Month activities will be children because we believe that if we can educate them at a young age and make them familiar with dentists, this preventive approach will set them up for good dental health in later life.

‘Our target is to reach out to 2,000 children during National Smile Month.

‘Individual dental practices have held events to mark National Smile Month in the past but this is the first time that the PCT itself has become involved.

‘We want to increase awareness of dental health and celebrate the fact that dentistry is a very important part of the National Health Service as it celebrates its 60th year and also that North East Essex PCT is this year increasing its investment in dentistry.’

Many dental practices in Colchester also held children-only days or arrange higher numbers of child appointments than normal.

A spokesperson said: ‘In general terms, the PCT was pleased with how it all went.’

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