Dentaid - National

"He went from covering his face to having a beaming smile."

A charity that provides free treatment to people struggling to access dental care has put a smile on the faces of fishermen in Poole Quay.

One year on from receiving a £6,000 grant from the Wesleyan Foundation, Salisbury based charity Dentaid has been able to extend its mobile dental services further to reach even more people who desperately need dental care.

Dentaid visited the Dorset town with its mobile dental unit to help the fishermen, who needed a variety of procedures including extractions, fillings and dental screenings.

They included Pete, a fisherman for 15 years, who last went to the dentist when he was 12-years-old and said the demands of his job meant he never had the time to get the treatment he needed.

He said: “I’ll often work 18-hour days and as fishermen we don’t get paid time off to go to the dentist. If I don’t go fishing, there’s no money for my family.”

He said: “There’s a culture of just putting up with things and getting on with it. I know lots of fishermen who have been living with toothache as they’re proud people and don’t like to admit they’re in pain.

“The great thing about the dental van coming here is that you can get everything done in one go!”

Jane, a qualified dentist who volunteers for Dentaid, said she got involved in the charity after realising the scale of the problem.

She said: “The levels of dental neglect are high. People in great need can’t access services and they’re being let down. Seeing Pete’s transformation was incredible, he went from covering his face to having a beaming smile!”

Dentaid provides essential dental care for people around the world and in the UK, where its mobile dental unit offers outreach clinics across the country.