Ultra runners go ‘the extra mile’ for Dentaid

Two ultra fundraisers are preparing to go the extra mile (and many more besides!) in support of Dentaid The Dental Charity.  Rafina O’Brien and George Jennings have signed up for Ultra Challenge Series events to help people experiencing homelessness, poverty and abuse to access life-changing dental care.

Rafina, a dental hygienist from Yeovil in Somerset, will be running an incredible 300km over three events this summer. She starts with the Jurassic Coast Ultra Marathon in May followed by the Cotswold Challenge in June before embarking on the Peak District Challenge less than a month later.  Each is 100km of running over varying, tough terrain and must be completed in less than 24 hours.

“I’ve run marathons before but never done anything like this,” she said. “But I wanted to see what I could do.  I run anyway and I love the Jurassic Coast so I signed up for that one but the Cotswolds and Peak District Challenges seemed exciting too, so I’m doing all three!  There’s not much time between them so staying fit is also a challenge but I have an armed forces background and a training programme that includes lots of hills so I’m hoping I’ll be OK.”

Dentaid’s fundraising events programme helps the charity deliver outreach dental clinics for people who struggle to access care both in the UK and overseas. 

“Dentaid has been around for a long time and I’ve always been aware of its work,” said Rafina, whose career has spanned the NHS, Royal Navy and community dental services. “I’ve been looking for ways to get involved and am also volunteering for the BrightBites oral health programme and on the charity dental unit in the UK.   I’ve set myself a fundraising target of £500 for these events. The team at Colosseum Dental in Yeovil has been brilliant by dedicating themselves to organising fundraising events and offering unwavering support by cheering me on during races, even on their days off.  It’s wonderful to know my colleagues and patients are rooting for me. It is a long way, but I’ll have my support crew and am looking forward to getting going.” Rafina OBrien is fundraising for Dentaid (justgiving.com)

Joining Rafina on the Cotswold Challenge is final year hygiene and therapy student George Jennings.

“This is the first time I’ve done anything like this but I’m excited,” said George. “I got the idea from a video I saw on Tik Tok and thought I’d give it a go.

“I’m a keen walker but have never attempted a distance like this, but I’ll have lots of support to keep me going.

“I just think it’s great that we have a dental charity that supports people both in the UK and overseas and I’d love to volunteer with Dentaid in the future.  I am very grateful to everyone who has sponsored me.  Training is going well and I’m looking forward to June.”  George Jennings is fundraising for Dentaid (justgiving.com)

To find out more about Dentaid The Dental Charity’s Ultra Challenge Series and other fundraising events visit https://www.dentaid.org/fundraising-events/

Dentaid announces summer fundraising activity calendar

Whether you’re a budding racing driver, golfer, ultra runner or daredevil, Dentaid The Dental Charity has a fundraising event for you this year.

With huge demand for its charitable dental clinics, the charity needs more support than ever before, and these events are a fun-filled way to raise funds that will help the most vulnerable people to access life-changing care.

The 2024 events programme starts with the charity’s Golf Day on Friday June 7th at the beautiful yet challenging Boundary Lakes Golf Course at The Utilita Bowl, Southampton. Sponsored by Dentsply Sirona, the event includes breakfast on arrival, a shotgun start across 18 holes using the Stableford scoring system, competition holes, buffet curry lunch, prizegiving and a charity raffle. Entry is £500 for a team of four and places can be booked by contacting fundraising@dentaid.org.

Dentaid The Dental Charity’s first ever track day will take place at Thruxton Racing Circuit on Friday 13th September 2024. Participants will get behind the wheel in a selection of sports and racing cars on the UK’s fastest circuit, located near Andover. Once racers have got their adrenaline pumping in vehicles including a Porsche Cayman, Ford Puma ST, Formula Renault single-seater and high-speed passenger lap in a BMW M2, they will spend the afternoon racing in 60mph race karts!  Lunch, afternoon tea and refreshments are required and all budding Lewis Hamiltons will need a full UK driving licence. Places, priced at £400 each, are going fast and can be booked by emailing fundraising@dentaid.org

After the success of recent years, Dentaid’s charity skydive is back at Old Sarum Airfield in Salisbury on Sunday, September 15th.  Fearless fundraisers will jump tandem from either 10,000ft or 15,000ft and are asked to raise a minimum of £400 to take part. Places can be booked by visiting Dentaid | Dentist and Oral Health Supporting Charity | GoSkydive 

Finally, ultra fundraisers can go the distance by signing up to the Ultra Challenge Series.  Events takes place across the country and this is a fantastic way to set your own goals and take part in some of the most challenging hikes in beautiful parts of Britain.

“2024 is set to be our busiest year to date, which means we have had to give our supporters more choice than ever in ways to support Dentaid The Dental Charity,” said fundraising manager Pete Burch.  “After the return and success of our golf day last year, I am thrilled to see it back for 2024. And alongside that, we have introduced a series of new and exciting fundraising events which I’m sure will be popular too. I am particularly excited for our first track day experience. Every penny raised helps us to provide life-changing dental care for the most socially excluded people including those experiencing homelessness, abuse, addiction and poverty and we’re very grateful to everyone who takes part. “

For more information contact fundraising@dentaid.org or call 01794 324249.

New dental service established for under-served communities in Hampshire and Isle of Wight

NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight has partnered with Dentaid The Dental Charity to provide a new mobile dental service for people experiencing health inequalities who struggle to get dental care.

The innovative project is a partnership to alleviate pressure on existing dental services and increase access to care for those facing difficult circumstances.

Patients including families experiencing poverty, people at risk of homelessness, children, and new and expectant mothers in areas at highest risk of poor dental health will be able to make appointments to see the dentist on a mobile dental unit. 

Emergency appointments will also be available for eligible patients who are suffering acute pain and have no other access to dental care.

Dentaid’s mobile dental units will be parking outside community centres, public buildings and sports facilities across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Eligible patients will be invited to make appointments to see the dentist onboard who will provide check-ups and oral cancer screening, oral health advice and emergency care including extractions and fillings. All treatment will be free of charge.

The service is for Hampshire and Isle of Wight residents facing health inequalities who have no other access to dental services. Agencies including support services, community groups, GP practices, foodbanks, charity partners and 111 will be signposting eligible patients to make an appointment.

The partnership will provide clinics across Hampshire and Isle of Wight over 18 months. The first clinics will take place in Southampton, Havant, Cosham and Portsmouth followed by the Isle of Wight in March and other areas of Hampshire later in the year. The service is designed to help communities at the highest risk of social exclusion to access dental screening, advice and urgent care. 

“As a charity we are focussed on giving the most vulnerable people in our communities the best possible chance of seeing a dentist and for many years we have been providing mobile dental services in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight for people experiencing homelessness, head and neck cancer patients, looked after children and survivors of abuse,” said CEO of Dentaid the Dental Charity, Andy Evans.  “This pioneering partnership with NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight will enable us to significantly upscale our work, reaching new communities and giving thousands more Hampshire and Isle of Wight residents who face health inequalities the opportunity to access care. By taking charity dental units into communities where our patients can use other support services, we are helping to break down some of the barriers people face when it comes to seeing a dentist.”

Director of Pharmacy, Optometry and Dentistry at NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Simon Cooper said: “We are really pleased to be funding this project and partnering with Dentaid The Dental Charity on this innovative approach to provide dentistry for those who need it most. Since we took on the responsibility for dentistry last year, we have been looking at ways we can ensure better access to NHS dental care for everyone living in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

“By targeting dental care at those living in more deprived communities, we will reach those with the highest risk of poor dental quality. We can then focus further investment on other patients who are currently unable to access an NHS dentist.”

Appointments will be required, and the service is only for eligible Hampshire and Isle of Wight residents who don’t already have a dentist.  Cosmetic treatments such as tooth whitening will not be available.

Children missed 15 million school days in the past year due to dental problems

At least one-in-nine children have missed school due to dental problems, with a total of more than 15 million school days missed in the past year, according to data from leading dental provider Denplan, part of Simplyhealth. 

Over a quarter (27%) of parents whose child required emergency dental treatment say their child has missed a half day (3-4 hours) due to emergency dental treatment with one-in-10 reporting full school days were missed due to this, finds Denplan’s Oral Healthcare Report. The data comes as children are reportedly missing more school than ever before. 

The research is from one of the most comprehensive surveys into habits and attitudes in UK dentistry surveying over 5,000 adults on their dental habits and those of their family.  

Today, Denplan, part of Simplyhealth, announces a £100,000 donation to its charity partner Dentaid, which will expand its oral health education programme, BrightBites, to a minimum of 90,000 UK school-aged children.  

Targeting schools, nurseries and clubs for low-income families, volunteers will deliver in-person sessions, with a range of resources including toothbrushing charts, stickers, recipes and healthy teeth leaflets, to educate and inform children about oral health.  

The partnership will also provide teacher resources designed to work alongside the curriculum. And every child will also be provided with a toothbrush and toothpaste to continue their positive oral health journey. 

The BrightBites programme is needed more than ever before. The new data finds a quarter (24%) of parents report their children had not seen a dentist in the past year, including one in 14 (7%) reporting their children had never seen a dentist or haven’t got a dentist. Dentists typically recommend children see a dental professional as soon as their teeth start to appear, so they can provide advice and assess how often they should be seen. 

The repercussions of lack of care are apparent in reported dental health concerns – a sixth (16%) of parents say their children have had a tooth cavity and around one in 10 (9%) report more than one cavity. A cavity is where the tooth has decayed due to build-up of bacteria on the surface, causing damage to the tooth over time, if preventative measures are not taken.  

One in 20 parents report their child has been hospitalised for tooth extraction, which is currently the number one reason for child hospital admissions in the UK. Rates of admission in the most deprived communities are almost 3.5 times that of those living in affluent ones.  

Catherine Rutland, dentist and Clinical Director at Denplan and Simplyhealth, said: “This data is a sad reflection of the state of oral health for children across the country, and the damaging consequences a lack of preventative oral healthcare can have. The research must be viewed in the context of the cost-of-living and ongoing issues around access to NHS dentistry. We encourage the government to start prioritising the oral health of the nation and the vital role dentistry plays. 

“We know that over half of private dentists are treating some children for free. Many dentists – whether private or not – would like the option to see children and vulnerable people in an NHS capacity. Due to the current restraints of the NHS contracts in England and Wales, this is not possible. Private and mixed dentistry has a vital role to play in supporting patients. We’ve got to work together to reform the contracts and ensure children are getting the care they need.” 

Andy Evans, CEO of Dentaid, said: “Oral health education is a key part of everything we do at Dentaid The Dental Charity. This fantastic partnership with Denplan will help us expand our BrightBites programme and deliver these important messages about diet, toothbrushing, teeth and the importance of regular dental care to 90,000 children across the UK.  Many of our projects see us working with families at highest risk of social exclusion and we want to particularly focus our efforts on helping these children to learn about the importance of good oral health so they can get into good habits that will help them keep their teeth and mouths healthy.” 

Reasons to smile 

Despite the shocking data revealing how some children are suffering, the report found that most parents were aware of the importance of looking after their children’s teeth: 87% of respondents agreed that good oral health habits in childhood improve lifelong oral health and more than eight in ten (84%) parents say their children brush their teeth at least twice a day.  

Parents who regularly visit their dentist were most likely to have taken a child in for check-ups in the last six to 12 months (75%), though almost half of those who never visit the dentist themselves had still taken a child. 

Over half of private dentists (51%) have offered children free dental services, according to Finlayson Media Communications’s Dentistry Census 2023.  

Top tips for looking after your children’s teeth 

  • Teach your children how to brush from as soon as they get their milk teeth. 
  • Always use a fluoride-based toothpaste. 
  • Practice brushing for two minutes by setting a timer or playing a two-minute song (e.g. Blippi’s here). 
  • Take your child to your dentist appointment with you as soon as they have baby teeth, so they become familiar with the setting. The dentist can then assess how regularly they need to visit. 

Denplan’s 2023 Oral Healthcare Report was published on 31 October and is available to read here

Agilio Software Partners with Dentaid The Dental Charity

Agilio Software is providing free dental software to the national charity 

UK’s leading provider of healthcare operations software, Agilio Software has announced it is partnering with the national charity, Dentaid The Dental Charity, supporting their staff across the UK with free access to Agilio’s leading digital solutions iComply, iLearn and iTeam.

Established in 1996, Dentaid The Dental Charity supports under-served communities across the UK and overseas by offering them free access to dental care. Through its volunteers, the charity travels up and down the country using its fleet of mobile units to provide free, pain-relieving dental treatments, preventive and restorative care, and oral health advice to vulnerable groups such as people experiencing homelessness, cancer patients, abuse survivors, and asylum seekers.

The collaboration between the charity and the dental technology provider began in Spring 2022, with Agilio initially donating free subscriptions to their market-leading compliance platform, iComply, and HR and people management solution, iTeam.

Seeing the impact their partnership has on disadvantaged communities, Agilio subsequently agreed to provide further support and expand the partnership by granting access to their Enhanced CPD platform, iLearn, this year.

Managing Director of Agilio Software’s Dental division, Andy Sloan, said: “At Agilio, we are all incredibly passionate about serving our communities and making an impact beyond our commercial success.

Having access to dental care should be something that everyone has; unfortunately, that is no longer the case, which is what makes the work of Dentaid The Dental Charity so important. Through our time-saving technology and services, we can free up their team’s time so they can focus on helping a greater number of patients and our iLearn solution is ensuring they meet their professional development needs.”

CEO of Dentaid The Dental Charity, Andy Evans, said: “We are delighted to be further strengthening our partnership with Agilio. I’d like to thank them for their commitment to opening up their innovative solutions to our team and supporting us in managing our compliance, HR and CPD.

Our priority has always been providing dental treatments and advice to those who need it most, so this partnership with Agilio will relieve some of the pressures on our teams and enable our dental care professionals to reach even more under-served communities across the UK and around the world.”

For more information about Dentaid The Dental Charity, visit: https://www.dentaid.org/

Miles for Smiles – Join Dentsply Sirona for this annual charity event

Did you know around 274,000 people are currently experiencing homelessness across the UK?

Join Dentsply Sirona UK & Ireland in our mission to support oral health within the homeless community by walking 27,400 steps and raising funds for the dental charity Dentaid.

On Friday 30th June 2023, we will be walking simultaneously in 2 locations with panoramic views: Old Windsor to Weybridge in Surrey and Haworth in West Yorkshire!

We are delighted to be organising this event for our colleagues, friends, family members, business partners and the wider dental community to help give a smile back to those in need. Miles for Smiles is a brilliant opportunity for team building and having lots of fun.

Who are Dentaid?

In the UK, Dentaid provides free dental care for homeless and vulnerable people. Dentaid’s mobile dental units visit hostels, day centres and night shelters providing emergency treatment for people who find it difficult to access dental care. Dentaid also provide dental care in areas where people are struggling to find a dentist and run clinics for refugees and asylum seekers, head and neck cancer patients, veterans, children in areas of social deprivation and victims of domestic violence. 

If you are interested in joining Miles for Smiles to raise money for this fantastic cause, click the button below to register:

REGISTER FOR MILES FOR SMILES – Miles for Smiles 2023 supporting Dentaid Registration, Fri 30 Jun 2023 at 09:30 | Eventbrite


“We had a great time on the Miles for Smiles walk, ideal team bonding all while raising money for a good cause and getting us all moving, doing some sightseeing with great company. The team really had a great day and made some fun memories!” 

“Taking part in Miles for Smiles 2022 was truly one of the highlights of my year! A fantastic way to connect with colleagues and customers you wouldn’t usually get to speak to, all whilst supporting a wonderful dental charity!”

“The Miles for Smiles walk was a great opportunity to raise money for a good cause. In addition to that, it was also a great opportunity for team building and meeting new people!”

‘Action not words’

Jill Harding talks to Dental Sky about the UK’s oral health crisis

A healthy smile is fast becoming an indicator of our socioeconomic status. With a wealth of studies to evidence the correlation between oral health and income, occupation and social background, the current shortage of NHS appointments has further deepened health inequalities in the UK.

Issues of access are widespread. Amid the crisis, patients who can afford private dental care have migrated away from the long NHS waiting lists, whilst those who cannot are missing out on regular check-ups, risking their health and quality of life.

With NHS dentists beset by what was considered by many an unworkable contract, the pandemic exacerbated the problems of access. Appointment delays created a backlog and the steep rise in living costs are now adding to the problem.

NHS Digital reveals that the number of adults seen by NHS dentists within recommended timeframes decreased by 9.5% in 2021-22 against the previous year. [1]

Two years ago, a report by Public Health England outlined the influences on public dental health, stating that ‘there is clear and consistent evidence for social gradients in the prevalence of dental conditions, the impact of poor oral health and service use’ [2].

It recognised that oral health inequalities ‘remain a significant public health problem’ and that reducing them ‘is a matter of social justice, an ethical imperative and, for public bodies across the health sector, a legal duty’.

This year, National Smile Month (16 May-16 June 2023) is shining a light on the importance of toothbrushing. Every year the campaign champions the benefits of having good oral health and promotes the value of a healthy smile.

The 2023 campaign is ‘Brush for better health’ – clarification of the systemic links between oral health and overall well-being vital to public health messaging. But with the pandemic’s impact still reverberating and the financial crisis forcing people to carefully consider their outgoings, the nation’s oral health is paying a heavy price.

There are health implications for people in vulnerable groups or those with lower socioeconomic status and failure to access dental care is among the challenges. These populations often have considerably poorer oral health across all assessed outcomes. For some, this may even involve limited access to toothbrushes and toothpaste or limited places to clean their teeth.

The Wrigley Oral Healthcare Programme’s Oral Health Index recently revealed that more than half (54%) of its 6,000 respondents believed there is a postcode lottery accessing dental services. With 68% agreeing there is a crisis in the provision of dentistry, three-quarters (77%) felt the government could do more to promote oral health. [3]

With fewer NHS appointments available and many areas with long waiting lists to register, it can impact the quality of life for those people for whom private dental care is unaffordable. Sometimes, they take matters into their own hands with media stories of DIY dentistry highlighting deeper problems.

Dentaid The Dental Charity has been operating mobile dental units across the UK for many years. The charity’s volunteers visit homeless shelters, soup kitchens and community buildings to provide free dental screening, advice and treatment for underserved-communities who are unable to access NHS dental care.

The charity’s efforts to break down barriers and help people who most need dental care access essential dental treatment are a vital lifeline for many. But it has cast its net beyond the people experiencing homelessness and other vulnerable groups of late to include public-access clinics. This focus had to change when the pandemic limited opportunities to help populations overseas. But their work has highlighted needs here in the UK, and demand has skyrocketed in the last 2 years.

Jill Harding is the communications director at Dentaid The Dental Charity.

Back in 2008, Dentaid The Dental Charity was refurbishing and delivering dental equipment to countries in need. It then developed its work to care for those in pain by funding outreach clinics and sending teams of volunteers to support local dental professionals.  Now, although its overseas work continues, it is very much focused on helping the UK population.

Jill says: ‘The pandemic was not solely the catalyst for the charity’s work on home soil. It had already started working in the UK when, in 2015, it responded to a cry for help from people in Kirklees in West Yorkshire who were using a soup kitchen but unable to eat the food due to toothache.

‘It was a slow evolution for the first couple of years but, since lockdown, demand skyrocketed partly due to the backlog created by the pandemic. This also led to heightened awareness about the groups of people who have always faced challenges in accessing dentistry.’

Earlier in the year, the charity updated its branding, too, to better reflect its work.

‘The old logo had an image of the globe within it, but times and our charity have moved on’, Jill says.

The new Dentaid logo

So, whilst it was always the charity’s intention to develop its UK work, the growth in demand has been ‘almost exponential,’ Jill says. ‘Dentaid The Dental Charity has always been fleet of foot. When opportunities to help more people present themselves, we make the most of them. There is now a vast geographical spread, and we are looking to work in new areas all the time. The team has expanded rapidly – we now have 28 members of staff and are currently planning to expand our regional hubs, too. We already have one operating near Halifax and are about to open one in Kent and base a mobile dental unit in Northern Ireland. We are mindful of environmental impact, so this helps reduce the need to travel.’

The charity will run at least 500 clinics in the UK this year. After its unveiling at the BDIA a new unit will be based at Maidstone, Kent run by a clinical supervisor and mobile unit officer from a hub that will serve the southeast.

Disengagement with traditional services can include logistical challenges, too. Often, vulnerable groups haven’t the contact details necessary for registration, or they may not have anywhere to store their belongings while they are treated. 

‘Our outreach work in mobile dental units takes our services to places where vulnerable groups feel safe and comfortable – hostels, day centres and night shelters. We are breaking down the practical, emotional and mental barriers to them accessing dental care.’

But sustainability is key here. As Jill says: ‘Our work needs to be sustainable, which is why we offer oral health education alongside all of our clinics that return to locations regularly. We must start conversations with patients about their teeth to ensure long-term health. Many of the people we treat haven’t attended for so long that they are disconnected from dentistry, which is why we return regularly. During sessions at our mobile units, volunteer clinicians offer oral health advice and hand out toothbrushes and toothpaste. Volunteers on our BrightBites programme, an oral health education scheme that visits schools, also hand out these resources.’

The government’s failure to address political and public health failures is difficult to ignore. Considering the litany of challenges dentistry faces, it must impact the team hugely. But Jill is keen to stress the importance of action rather than words.

‘As a charity, it isn’t for us to say why these services are not available to everyone or comment on funding in dentistry. What we do focus on, however, is being out there and doing something – running our clinics for the communities that need us most. We now have seven mobile units and one trailer servicing the UK. We have a fundraising events programme and encourage practices to hold events. We are always looking for volunteers and welcome input from across the profession.

She adds: ‘Dentaid The Dental Charity has always stepped in where there is a gap in care. Our services are delivered by much-valued volunteers who have often identified a need within their communities. Quite simply, we are committed to helping those who are the hardest to reach – wherever they might be.’

For more information, visit https://www.dentaid.org/


  1. https://digital.nhs.uk/news/2022/9.5-decrease-in-adults-seen-by-dentists-in-past-two-years
  2. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inequalities-in-oral-health-in-england/inequalities-in-oral-health-in-england-summary
  3. https://smile-ohm.co.uk/2023/03/14/more-than-a-third-of-11-16-year-olds-would-resort-to-diy-dentistry-measures/



Dentaid launches urgent appeal to repair charity dental units

Dental charity Dentaid has launched an urgent appeal to repair two of its mobile dental units and buy a new vehicle so homeless and vulnerable people can access dental care.

Last week, two of the charity’s vehicles – that are both 20 years old – broke down. Dentaid is doing everything it can to keep its clinics running but has launched a fundraising appeal to cover the cost of urgent repairs and fund a new unit for the future.

“Our mobile dental units work extremely hard for us and have been used for nearly 250 clinics this year helping the most vulnerable people in our society to access life-changing dental treatment,” said Dentaid CEO, Andy Evans. “But as with all vehicles, things go wrong and repairs are extremely costly. Last week was very challenging with our two oldest vehicles failing and needing recovery.  We need to get them back on the road as soon as possible because the need for our work is greater than ever.  However, we can’t escape the fact that these are ageing vehicles and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to source parts for them. Eventually, they will need to be replaced so that we can reach the people who need us most.”

Next year, Dentaid will have its first new purpose built mobile dental unit joining its fleet thanks to a series of fundraising events, including the Kilimanjaro climb by FMC founder Ken Finlayson and the Straumann Charity Bike Ride. Its schedule of clinics is already full and Dentaid will need more vehicles to meet rising demand.

“We know how much people are suffering due to untreated toothache, particularly in underserved and hard to reach communities,” added Andy. “Thanks to our volunteers, Dentaid is uniquely positioned to help by taking outreach dental care to them.  But we need vehicles to achieve this. We are fundraising to help us get our two existing lorries back out where they are desperately needed, but also looking to the future so we can build our fleet of purpose-built vehicles because we know that accessing dental care can improve our patients’ confidence and life chances.”  

Dentaid has set up a fundraising page where supporters can donate https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/DentaidNewMDU?invite=true

To find out more about Dentaid visit www.dentaid.org

Macmillan Cancer Support continues vital free dental care for cancer patients in Southampton

Macmillan Cancer Support has renewed its partnership with dental charity Dentaid to help fund a mobile unit at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS). 

Dentaid’s mobile unit attends the hospital twice a month with its group of volunteer dentists and dental nurses to offer treatment to head and neck cancer patients. Since the partnership started in July 2021 the unit has treated over a hundred head and neck cancer patients at UHS who are either about to commence or are undergoing treatment. The service also supports patients who have finished their cancer treatment -maybe a few years ago – but are now suffering ongoing damage to their teeth.

Over 300 different treatments have taken place including: extractions of painful teeth, fillings, oral health instruction, dentures to replace teeth lost during cancer treatment and preventative and protective treatments including flourish varnish.

One of the partnership’s patient’s this year was Pam Myatt aged 81. In 2016 she was diagnosed with throat cancer which spread to her tonsils.  Her left tonsil was removed, and she started radiotherapy and chemotherapy in 2017. Although she has now finished her cancer treatment, it has caused lasting damage to her teeth which are now at much greater risk of decay and damage. Pam told us: “What I didn’t know before, is that after radiotherapy the teeth are very susceptible to damage and decay, although the effect might not be seen for several years. I started to get problems with my teeth but there aren’t any NHS dentists taking new patients. One of my teeth has caused me pain but mostly it’s the loss of confidence. I noticed my teeth started to erode and decay and turned opaque white. It was devastating. You have a feeling of isolation and not knowing where to turn. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to find Dentaid’s unit at UHS and it is such a nice team. I’ve had full x-rays and several fillings. Just today, I’ve had three fillings which would have cost me about £450 otherwise.  I was feeling pretty desperate before I heard about Dentaid’s partnership with Macmillan and UHS but I’m incredibly pleased and grateful to be here receiving treatment.”

Andy Evans Dentaid’s CEO said, about the extension of the funding, “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support and University Hospital Southampton.  Over the last year Dentaid volunteers have been able to help patients who’ve needed urgent dental care prior to starting cancer treatment, those who’ve developed dental problems while they’ve been undergoing treatment or afterwards as radiotherapy can have long lasting effects on the mouth.  This is an innovative project that involves taking our mobile dental service to the hospital and helping those struggling to access dental care who urgently need treatment to restore their confidence and improve their quality of life.”

Dentaid volunteer dentists and dental nurses provide full x-rays and screenings, fillings, dentures, extractions if necessary, dental and oral health advice, scale and polish and other treatments. All clinics take place on the mobile dental unit which parks at the hospital.

Tracy Street, Macmillan Engagement lead said: “ We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Dentaid and UHS to provide essential dental care for head and neck cancer patients. There has proved a real need for this service with a gap in provision and thanks to Dentaid’s volunteers and our amazing Macmillan supporters we can continue to fund and offer patients the dental care they need before, during and after their cancer treatment.”

Dentaid Community launches

Award winning dental charity Dentaid has launched the Dentaid Community to bring together fundraisers, volunteers and supporters.

Dentaid Community members will be able to share their experiences of volunteering in the UK or overseas, organise fundraising events and promote Dentaid’s work in their own areas of the country.

The campaign will use social media to link community members so they can keep in touch with each other and hear the charity’s latest news. They will also be first to learn about overseas volunteering trips, have regular updates on new volunteering opportunities in the UK and be able to win certificates and trophies to be displayed in their practice as a mark of their support.

Since the pandemic, Dentaid has undergone a period of rapid expansion as demand for its services has skyrocketed.  The charity now has 22 staff, projects around the world and by the of the year will have a fleet of 6 mobile dental units providing outreach dental care for homeless and vulnerable patients across the UK.

This is all thanks to dental professionals who give up their time to volunteer for Dentaid either in the UK or overseas, those who organise fundraising events and people who support the charity.

“We are so fortunate that as Dentaid has grown we have been able to attract an incredible new group of people who are committed to supporting our work and helping the most vulnerable people to access safe, sustainable dental care,” said Dentaid’s fundraising manager Pete Burch. “These supporters are based across the country and are involved with Dentaid in many ways.  Each has their own expertise, knowledge and experience of being part of our charity and we wanted to give them the chance to swap ideas, encourage each other and inspire others to help Dentaid grow.  Our patients face so many barriers to accessing dental care whether that’s because they are experiencing homelessness or live in a remote community overseas.  We’re getting more requests for our mobile dental clinics, BrightBites oral health programme and overseas projects than ever before and we are only going to get busier.  The Dentaid Community is a way of bringing together all the people who are playing a part in our success so we can celebrate their involvement as they help us grow and change more lives through dental care.”

Dentaid recently won the Healthcare and Medical Research category at the prestigious Charity Awards for its work providing mobile dental services for people experiencing homelessness.

The charity also runs dental clinics for refugees and asylum seekers, fishing communities, head and neck cancer patients, ex-service personnel, victims of domestic violence and children in areas of high social depravation.  Its BrightBites oral health programme is delivered in the UK and overseas and Dentaid supports dentists around the world by supplying equipment and volunteers to help them reach more patients.

Anyone who wants to be part of the Dentaid Community can sign up for free by visiting https://www.dentaid.org/dentaid-community/

They will then be invited to join the Dentaid Community Facebook page.