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Scottish Oral Health Improvement Homelessness Programme: Smile4life

Developing, implementing and evaluating an oral health preventive programme for homeless populations across Scotland.

The findings of the Smile4Life Report on the oral and psychosocial health of people experiencing homelessness in Scotland were presented at a meeting held on 19th May 2011,at the Dementia Services Development Centre,University of Stirling.

Smile4Life Report

This report is about the oral health of homeless people in Scotland.

A needs assessment survey of 853 people experiencing homelessness in Scotland identified exceptional oral health needs among this population. Oral health was poor: 98% of those surveyed had experienced dental decay.  Over 50% of the sample had had at least one tooth extracted.  Sixty-eight percent of the sample stated that they only accessed dental care when experiencing pain or in an emergency.  Over 20% of this population experienced severe dental anxiety.

Resources to support training and implementation

The Smile4life Guide for Trainers and associated Smile4life Intervention is an evidence-based resource for all health and social care professionals to deliver training to staff working directly with people experiencing homelessness.  The overall purpose of Smile4life is to enable health and social care staff and support workers to provide evidence-based tailored oral health messages to meet the specific and exceptional needs of homeless (roofless and houseless) people in Scotland.  Smile4life is currently being implemented in the majority of NHS Boards in Scotland.


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