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News- Smile4Life brings services together for homeless people

The Smile4Life project has launched a new directory of services in Dundee which can help people with some of the many issues they may face when homeless. Covered with pictures taken by homeless people, the report is the result of around two years research by project leader Dr Andrea Rodriguez and her team from Dundee University’s Dental Health Service Research Unit and the School of Education and Social Work.

Academics, social workers, oral health practitioners and voluntary organisations gathered in Dundee University today for the launch. They heard that many homeless people find it difficult to access dental services and are more likely to miss appointments and face charges as a result. There is also a stigma which discourages them from attending dental surgeries, and a need to work with receptionists to ensure the correct welcome for people who, according to research, “feel invisible” and have complex challenges.

Poor dental health, the meeting heard, contributes to depression and homeless people can be self conscious about their teeth.

Dundee Health & Social Care Partnership has been closely involved and the new report complements work being done to increase the use of the “lead professional” model to ensure that services are co-ordinated and homeless people are supported.

Find out more about Smile4Life

Pictured from left are Professor Ruth Freeman of the Dental Health Research Unit, Ailsa McAllister of DHSCP, Dr Andrea Rodriguez, who led the project, Donna Kirk of the Oral Health Promotion Team and Evelyn Kidd of Falkirk Community Hospital.