Simplyhealth is to sponsor a year’s worth of check-ups and emergency treatment for homeless people visiting Trinity Winchester throughout 2020.
The service will be delivered through oral health charity Dentaid’s mobile dental surgery – with qualified dentists volunteering their time, skills and experience.
If someone is homeless, it is almost impossible to register with a dentist. Oral health among homeless people is significantly worse than in the general population. 90% of homeless people reported issues with their mouth since becoming homeless and 60% had experienced severe dental pain. People sleeping rough do not prioritise their health needs – 77% smoke and 39% take drugs. The pain of tooth decay leads some individuals to extract their own teeth – in unhygienic circumstances with no anaesthetic.
Being able to smile again builds confidence and self-esteem – enabling people to go to job interviews with more assurance and interact socially, reducing the loneliness which often leads to mental ill-health.
Dave (not real name) says: “I was worried to go at first as it had been so long since I visited a dentist. Trinity’s dentists changed my life. They gave me back my smile again. Now I can move on with confidence and look for a job”.
Catherine Rutland, Clinical Director at Simplyhealth said: “Regular dental visits and a good brushing routine are important for maintaining both good oral health and reducing the risk of tooth decay. We know that more studies are increasingly finding links between oral health and common conditions including heart disease, dementia and diabetes, amplifying the need to increase understanding of good oral health.
“People who are homeless will find maintaining a good oral health routine difficult, which can lead to dental problems. By providing the opportunity through Dentaid for both immediate dental care and subsequent follow-up appointments and monitoring, we can help to improve the oral health and overall wellbeing of homeless patients.”