Homeless people offered free dentistry by students who say 'everyone deserves to live without pain'

ITV Meridian's Kerry Swain meets the student dentists helping the homeless.

A rough sleeper whose teeth are so sore he finds it tough to eat will get free dentistry to help ease his pain.

Tony is among homeless people suffering intense tooth pain because of neglected oral health who are being offered free treatment by student dentists.

The University of Portsmouth is believed to be the first to offer dental and eye care to homeless people - some of whom have spent years sleeping rough.

Tony told volunteers that for the last 10 years he's often been in too much pain to eat.

He said: "I've been sleeping rough in Southampton, I've been sleeping rough in Portsmouth. For the last ten years I've found it really uncomfortable to eat almost anything."

He is hoping the student dentists will work to help him so he can eat more hard foods like carrots and nuts.

Barry Wilson Credit: ITV News Meridian

Barry Wilson has also been sleeping rough, and is one of 40 homeless people to receive free dental care at the University of Portsmouth Dental Academy. 

When asked what has caused his teeth to be in their condition he said: "Fights, neglect, drug abuse, addiction, drinking, alcoholism.

"Now I'm in sobriety I feel a lot better physically, mentally, spiritually. Without no teeth my mental health plays up."

Student dentists offering dental care to homeless people. Credit: ITV News Meridian

The student dentists who have been taking part in the project say they are determined to get their patients as healthy and as comfortable as possible.

Dental student Melissa Morgan said: "Everyone deserves to be out of pain and to be able to eat and drink normally.

"it's not really fair regardless of the state they're in or their living situation, they should be entitled to dental care."

Four sessions of dental and eye care have come to an end, but Portsmouth University says there is a need to continue helping more than 100 homeless people, some who endure daily pain.