Dental health has a substantial impact on quality of life. The Brighton Implant Clinic, a leading dental health clinic in Brighton and Hove, is fundraising for homeless charities, BHT and Emmaus through their ‘tiny mighty toothbrush’ campaign.
The Brighton Implant clinic and these charities hope to highlight and explore the effects oral health has to the most misunderstood and vulnerable people in our society, the homeless. The Brighton Implant Clinic hopes to raise money for these charities selling toothbrush kits, which will also be donated to local shelters.
Dr. Bruno Silva, founder and principal dentist of the Brighton Implant Clinic said,
“As an experienced Dentist, I understand the importance of dental health and have seen the adverse physical and mental effects that this can have. I can’t imagine the struggles that this could cause to those most vulnerable in our society.
With this fundraiser, I hope to highlight that something so small can still have a big impact in creating positive change, and help those most in need.”
Studies have shown that since 2010, there has been a 134% increase in rough sleepers, which hit new records in January 2017. Unfortunately, the extent of this issue is still unknown, as these figures are not a true representation of homelessness. Many ‘hidden’ homeless people are ‘sofa surfing’ or between houses. Becoming homeless is not a choice; it is where someone has faced a major crisis. Reasons for homelessness include a relationship breakdown, mental health issues, redundancy, domestic abuse, substance abuse and more.
Homelessness and oral health is a neglected issue. Poor Oral health and missing teeth can cause problems with speech and eating, however oral diseases can, in fact, be life threating. Groundswell, a homeless charity in London carried out a survey with 260 homeless people in July this year, exploring dental health and homelessness.
The surveyed revealed:
• 90% of participants had an issue with their dental health since becoming homeless.
• 7 in 10 reported lost teeth since becoming homeless.
• 15% of homeless people had pulled out their own teeth.
• Many participants described considerable pain on a daily basis, where 27% had admitted to turning to substance abuse for relief.
The NHS has described the detrimental effects poor dental health can have on overall health. Gum disease caused by poor oral health has been linked to other health problems in the body such as:
• Heart Attack.
• Heart Disease.
• Weakened Immune system.
According to the NHS, dental health studies also reveal that severe gum inflammation caused by gum disease can slowly damage blood vessels in the heart and brain over a long period of time. Over 90% of homeless people suffer from poor oral health and the average life expectancy of a homeless person is just 47 years old.
Poor dental health also has detrimental effects on mental health. Poor oral health can cause significant social anxiety to already the most socially excluded people in our society. Losing teeth causes low self-esteem and self-image, which is also linked to depression.
The Brighton Implant Clinic has launched a fundraiser called ‘ the tiny mighty toothbrush ’ from the 13th November until the 25th December. They hope to sell three hundred toothbrush kits for £2.50 and match each donation. All proceeds will be donated to the Brighton Housing Trust and Emmaus as well as the kits donated to three local shelters. Some of these kits will also be on an emergency supplies outreach van through Off The Fence this winter. These kits will be sold on their website.
The tiny mighty toothbrush kits will give three hundred homeless people their own toothbrush in a small pocket size kit, which also comes with a small tube of toothpaste. These kits give homeless people the means to clean their teeth, which fights against bad bacteria, the cause of poor oral health and oral diseases. This will help homeless people maintain their overall health as well as have positive effects on their mental health. These kits will also raise money for two of the biggest homeless charities in Brighton and Hove, which combat Homelessness, create opportunities, and promote Change.
Andy Winter from the Brighton Housing Association said “we are thrilled to be chosen as a charity partner for this fantastic fundraising initiative, led by Brighton Implant Clinic. The community is becoming increasingly aware of street homelessness in Brighton and Hove, and finding ways to support people who are rough sleeping is something many local business are keen to do.
“With part of the profit from the scheme being donated to First Base Day Centre, it will not only provide dental packs for the city’s most vulnerable people, but it will also support BHT to help people who are rough sleeping to move away from life on the streets. In partnership with other agencies, First Base offers health care services, showers, clean and dry clothes, and person-centred advice to support people to access accommodation and learning-focused opportunities”.
To buy a kit now and donate visit: http://www.brightonimplantclinic.co.uk/tinymightytoothbrush