Homelessness in the UK is on the rise.
It’s truly a sorry state of affairs. More and more people across the UK are becoming homeless. When we think of the word homeless, we stereotypically think of people living on the street, but this isn’t always the case. Homeless families or individuals may be living in temporary housing, shelters or B&Bs. Regardless of the scenario, this often means that there are homeless people being refused access to basic medical care, including access to GP’s and the dentist.
This is something we often don’t think about when we think of homelessness. We usually think of having no food, or having nowhere to sleep. But it’s so much more than that. And we often take it for granted.
Homeless people being refused access to dental care.
Around 15% of homeless people have admitted to trying to pull out their own teeth. This is due to homeless people being ‘refused access’ to dental care – according to research by Groundswell. This research also found 70% of homeless people had lost teeth since becoming homeless and almost a third are currently experiencing dental pain.
Homeless People Still Value Their oral health.
It can be challenging for homeless people to access dental care. However, Groundswell research shows that homeless people still value their oral health. They still place their trust in dentists and do believe that dentists want to help.
Unfortunately, an average of only 23% of those who are homeless have been able to see a dentist within the last 6 months. Almost 60% of these people were also unsure what their rights were with regards to NHS dentistry.
At present, our NHS is failing those less fortunate. NHS cuts mean that less money is being spent on dental care, and is harming patients who don’t have easy access to traditional care.
What Can You Do?
While you might not be a dentist, you can help.
You can get involved with UK dental charities that look to aid those less fortunate who do not have access to dental care, or who cannot afford dental care. The team at Dentaid do a fantastic job! Or maybe you have a local charity near you that works to provide dental care for local homeless people.
Another thing you could do is hand in dental care supplies to your local homeless shelters. Instead of buying your coffee every day for a week, you could save that £15, head to the supermarket and buy some supplies. Toothpastes, brushes, or floss. It doesn’t need to be brand names either ! Little gestures like these can make big differences to homeless people being refused access
What do you think?