Respected maritime health and welfare charity, the Seafarers Hospital Society (SHS) has launched its latest initiative for fishing families.

For the next 5 years they are generously funding Brighter Smiles, Cornwall’s oral health programme for children aged 5 – 9 in Newlyn School, right at the heart of the Cornish fishing community.

Poor dental health is a real problem in the fishing community. A combination of lack of NHS provision and problems with making and keeping appointments when you work at sea have led to a crisis in dental health for fishing families.

Brighter Smiles provides dedicated support in Cornish schools, nurseries and family hubs, including:

  • Daily tooth-brushing clubs for nursery and reception classes
  • Free fluoride varnishing for reception and year 1 to protect against tooth decay
  • Education and advice for all children, staff and parents/carers to establish good eating habits and limit sugary snacks and drinks
  • Home education packs for every child to help establish good practice at home
  • A dedicated dental nurse to work with teachers and classroom staff

Over this 5-year period we will expect to see a very significant reduction in tooth decay and improvement in overall oral health and consequently fewer youngsters being admitted to hospital for teeth extraction under general anaesthetic.

SHS has a long history of providing health and welfare support to seafarers and their families including the provision of free dental treatment, but this is the first time that the Society has focused on the prevention of dental ill-health and targeted children.

ITV West Country filmed foundation year pupils at Newlyn School engaging enthusiastically with the Brighter Smiles programme and the piece was aired on Friday 24th January – watch the footage below or click here to read the accompanying ITV article:

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