Free dental care offered to fisherman and their families

Free dental care offered to fisherman and their families

Fishermen and their families will have access to free dental checks after a dental charity makes its return to the south coast. 

Between 14 September and 14 December 2023, Smiles at Sea – now in its seventh year – will open its doors to fishermen suffering from dental problems in Cornwall and Devon.

Along with their dependent families, they will have access to free dental checks, emergency treatment and oral cancer screenings from a mobile dental unit in eight fishing ports.

The treatment will relieve any urgent dental problems including simple tooth extraction, permanent fillings and scale and polish. There will also be referrals through NHS routes where more complex oral surgery is required.

‘Real difference’

Smiles at Sea is hosted by Seafarers Hospital Society (SHS) and Smile Together, thanks to generous funding from the Department for Transport via the Merchant Navy Welfare Board.

The clinics are delivered in partnership with The Fishermen’s Mission as part of their national SeaFit service, including their partner network of healthcare providers and charity partners.

Sandra Welch is chief executive officer of SHS. She said: ‘We are delighted to continue our support of the work of Smiles at Sea as part of SeaFit.

‘I truly believe this is an excellent example of how partners can collaborate together to bring health services to the quayside and make a real difference in our coastal communities.’

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Alison Cane, outreach manager at Smile Together, added: ‘We’re passionate about tackling oral health inequality in our communities.

‘This will be the seventh consecutive year that we have visited local harboursides across Cornwall and Devon to improve the oral health of fishermen and their families who so rarely get to see a dentist due to the demands of their work.

‘Everyone who attends will receive one of our oral health packs. This includes toothbrushes, toothpaste and a two-minute timer – along with top dental tips for all the family, signposting information to emergency dental care and healthy snacks. Plus, they will be entered into a free prize draw.’

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