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A Tooth Bus - a new mobile dental clinic providing free NHS dental check-ups - will be launched in Portsmouth today (Tuesday 19 June).
The Tooth Bus will be stopping at various venues in Portsmouth and will also be travelling around Hampshire over the next couple of months as part of a drive to improve access to NHS dentistry and deliver oral health promotion in the county.
Winchester based Iosis Dental Clinic Ltd has been commissioned by NHS Hampshire to deliver the NHS service which will provide the free dental check-ups to people who have not seen an NHS dentist for two years or more.
DH dental statistics show that 41% of people have not visited an NHS dentist in the past two years. In Hampshire this figure is 47.6% - still under 50%.
Shapour Hariri, Director of Iosis Dental Clinic said: “This is a major new dental health drive that aims to actively tackle the perceived lack of access to NHS dental services across Hampshire. Our new Tooth Bus will be touring across Hampshire, Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight providing oral health education, together with a free dental check-up for patients who have not seen an NHS dentist in the previous two years. If a patient is found to need treatment, they will be referred on to a local NHS dental practice so that they can receive ongoing dental care.
“We have been running a similar mobile service to selected communities in Hampshire over the last two years which has been very successful and well received by the community. Mobile health care of this sort is a fantastic way of reaching out to communities who may not have easy access to dental or health clinics and can also be a good way of connecting health care with hard to reach communities.”
Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, Director of Public Health for Portsmouth, said: “It’s great news that the Tooth Bus is coming to the city on 19 June. It’s an ideal way for those who haven’t visited a dentist for a couple of years to have a quick check-up in a friendly and relaxed environment – so if you’re nervous about going to the dentist, the Tooth Bus is an excellent first step to better oral hygiene.
“There are almost 100 practices across Southampton, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth accepting new NHS patients, so there’s plenty of capacity. Good oral hygiene is simple, and a couple of minutes twice a day cleaning your teeth thoroughly could save you discomfort later.”
The bus will be stopping at easily accessible points such as shopping centres, supermarkets and SureStart centres across Hampshire, including Portsmouth and Southampton.
Patients wanting to use the service should visit www.toothbus.co.uk to find a full list of locations for where the bus is visiting, or call 0844 880 5331.
To find an NHS dentist across Southampton, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth, visit www.hampshiredentalhelpline.nhs.uk or call 0845 050 8345.