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Posted in: Blog, by kayleighb2a, on 12th February 2014 | 0 comments

Guest blog by Toothpick.com

In the UK, we have come to take access to dentists for granted. We may complain that we have to travel to visit an NHS dentist or wait a couple of days to get a booking with our regular dentist. But the truth is that when we need treatment, we can get an appointment with a qualified dentist in a clean surgery without too much hassle.

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At Toothpick, we’re proud to be making it even easier for patients to book a dentist’s appointment by connecting patients and dentists through an online platform. We increase transparency and accessibility for both groups, and are proud to be part of bringing healthcare access online. But it’s all too easy to forget just how lucky we are for this improvement to even be a possibility.

Learning about Bridge2Aid’s latest challenges really brought home to us how much of a luxury access to dentistry is in many parts of the world – because, for the vast majority of the world’s population (75 per cent), just being able to see a dentist is a dream.

Most of these people live in developing nations, predominantly in rural areas. Through Bridge2Aid, we’ve learnt that in Tanzania, for example, there is just one dental professional for every one million people. Where as we can just search for our nearest dentist and drive or hop on public transport, for many the reality of visiting a dentist is that they have a four or five hour drive just to get to the nearest dentist. On top of the time taken out of work to make the trip, before they’ve even paid for the dentistry itself they have to spend what can equate to a week’s income on the journey. The cost – in terms of both time and money – involved in organising a dental appointment means that for many, this simply isn’t an option and they struggle on, often for years in discomfort and pain.

Bridge2Aid are doing all they can to change this situation and give people in remote locations access to the tools and education that they need to improve their dental health. The organisation, funded entirely by donations, with a heavy reliance on volunteers, works tirelessly to provide communities with access to simple treatment and oral health education.

We believe Bridge2Aid’s work is invaluable. But the charity is currently struggling with a dramatic reduction in funding after becoming the victim of sophisticated financial fraud at the hands of a crime ring. A 70 per cent drop in funds from the charity’s main corporate sponsor has compounded the charity’s struggles and despite efforts to make up the shortfall, Bridge2Aid still needs to find £50,000 by March to continue its vital work.

Given the simplicity with which we can access dental care in Britain, it’s all too easy to think that this isn’t a priority. But as anyone who has suffered from an infection knows, the pain of toothache can be debilitating. Imagine that pain as a constant problem, something you simply live with day after day, with no safe option for an extraction. That should give you an idea of what countless people are struggling with on a daily basis.

www.toothpick.com

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