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Bridlington Fishermen Get Free Dental Checks

fishermen teeth

Published by Karen Liu at 1:03pm 22nd March 2019.

Fishermen in Bridlington have been getting free dental checks.

It is thanks to the SeaFit Programme, who are concerned that fishermen are unable to access dental care.

SeaFit commissioned international dental charity, Dentaid, to provide free treatment in their mobile clinic down at the harbour.

They treated seven patients in just over six hours – there were six fishermen and one fisherman’s wife.

Everyone had a check-up and oral health screening, including checks for oral cancer.

And there was a significant amount of work to be done with 17 extractions, four fillings and three scale and polish.

Commenting on the Bridlington clinic Andy Evans, Dentaid CEO, said:

“This was a very busy clinic for our volunteer dental team. 

The fact that they had to remove so many teeth shows that some fishermen are living in constant dental pain but still aren’t accessing dental care. 

By taking our mobile dental unit to the harbour not only did we help them out of immediate pain, we also helped them re-engage with dentistry which is crucial to their general health and wellbeing.”

When it comes to getting dental treatment, for some busy fishermen it’s really difficult to fit it in and for others it’s just not a priority.

Many have families and young children and would rather spend their precious time with them.

Some have had bad experiences in the past so they’re anxious and will put it off.

Naomi Roche, Dentaid UK Project Manager explained how they tackle this:

“We know that anxiety is an issue for many patients but our approach is different. We sit with them and guide them through the process before, during and after treatment. It makes them much more comfortable and allays any anxieties they might have.”

The clinic earlier this month was co-ordinated by the East Riding Healthtrainer service for fishermen and the local Fishermen’s Mission.

Talking about the initiative, Fishermen’s Mission Superintendent Tracey Stephens said:

“We know how hard it can be to get to the dentist when you’re out at sea. So we made it easy by bringing the dentist down to the harbourside. The fishermen were delighted with the treatment and came out smiling. And the Health Trainers were on hand to book them an appointment for a health check. All in all it was a great success.”

SeaFit is a joint initiative from respected maritime charities, the Fishermen’s Mission and Seafarers Hospital Society (SHS), working in partnership to deliver sustainable improvements to the health and wellbeing of fishermen and their families around the UK The programme includes a range of initiatives covering physical, dental and mental health and is funded by Seafarers UK.

Free dental checks and treatment have been provided at a number of locations, as Lysanne Wilson, Health Development Manager at the Seafarers Hospital Society, explained:

“This isn’t the first time that SeaFit has provided free dental treatment to the fishing community. Working with Dentaid, Smile Together and a small number of local dentists, we have been able to deliver free dental checks and initial treatment to fishermen in several locations: from Cornwall and Devon in the South West of England to Troon in the South West of Scotland. And we’re hoping to deliver more of these clinics over the coming months.”

For more information about services to fishermen and their families on the East Yorkshire Coast contact the SeaFit Healthtrainer team, tel: 0800 917 7752/email hnf-tr.healthtrainers@nhs.net or Superintendent Tracey Stephens, tel: 07917 754527/email: hullcentre@fishermensmission.org.uk

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