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Fighting tooth decay in Cornwall's fishing communities

Children at Newlyn school are being taught toothbrushing habits to last a lifetime. Credit: ITV West Country

The Seafarers Hospital Society is trying to tackle poor dental health among fishing families with a five-year project at Newlyn Primary School in Cornwall, which aims to prevent tooth decay.

It says people who work at sea often find it hard to make and keep dental appointments - something that filters throughout their families.

The project in Newlyn is aimed at children aged between five and nine.

It includes a daily toothbrushing club at the school through the Brighter Smiles Oral Health project.

Nurse Jo Trevelyan helped set it up:

I think it works so well because it's in a classroom setting and they're surrounded by their friends.

– Jo Trevelyan
Fishing communities like Newlyn are harder to reach for dental hygiene experts, the Brighter Smiles projectsays. Credit: ITV West Country

Joy Callender from Brighter Smiles Project says poor dental health is a common problem in fishing ports like Newlyn.

It's a fishing community and it's quite hard to reach adults. Children do not get to visit the dentist on a regular basis - it's hard to get a regular dentist in this part of Cornwall as well so we do all we can to help this community.

– Joy Callender

The idea of this project is to try and prevent tooth decay from an early age - recognising the impact that dental hygiene has on health and wellbeing in the hope these children will keep up their good habits in adulthood.