Dundee dental students win award for oral health prison project
The University of Dundee School of Dentistry has won an award for tackling the issue of oral health for the residents of the Scottish Prison Service
The chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, visited the University to judge community oral health projects and present them with an award.
The fourth-year dental students were asked to select an area or group in the local community and were then tasked with raising awareness of oral health by showing them how to develop good oral health routines.
As part of their dentistry degree, the students worked in tandem with voluntary and community organisations which helped them reach out to individuals with mental health issues, the homeless and those with learning disabilities.
The winning group of students was tasked with tackling the issue of oral health for the residents of the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) within HMP Perth.
The group decided that the main areas of focus would be motivation and education, delivered through informational posters and workshops as well as an educational video.
On his visit to Dundee, Dr Nigel Carter was full of praise for the ideas and proposals that were put forward by the students.
He said: ‘This award has been running for a number of years now and every year our panel of judges are so impressed with the innovation, enthusiasm and effort put into these projects.
‘Every project that was presented to the panel highlighted several fantastic ways we can get important oral health messages and education to those that are more likely to suffer with dental disease.
‘The winning team showed excellent knowledge of the problems that prisoners face with their oral health. Their solution was extremely sensible, tackled the key issues and, if rolled-out, could have a positive effect on their wellbeing.
‘Studies show that prisoners are more likely to suffer from oral diseases, have lower levels of dental treatment and less motivation to maintain their oral health in comparison to the general population.
‘The oral health of prisoners is often overlooked so measures need to be implemented as to make it a far greater priority.’
The winning group was chosen by a panel of oral health experts, including Dr Nigel Carter.
‘As a population, it is vital that we continue to work as hard as possible to reduce inequalities and spread positive oral health messages to all members within our communities,’ added Dr Carter.