Everyone in Shetland is to receive an oral healthcare booklet as a response to the restricted access to dental services during the pandemic.
NHS Shetland said its “Oral Health Care at Home” publication was one of several initiatives it has developed to “breakdown barriers to preventive care”.
After dental services were heavily restricted during the pandemic, the board has recognised that its ability to deliver “important prevention messages” has also been limited.
Even now that services are beginning to resume, patients have been warned that access to routine check-ups could be scaled back so that some folk may have to wait up to two years between appointments.
Faced with these challenges, oral health education nurse Angela Hopwood came up with the idea to sent the booklet to households across Shetland to engage with patients.
It contains messages for all age groups on how to prevent dental problems and improve oral health as well as highlighting the services that are available. It will be arriving on doorsteps across the isles from next week.
Dentistry director Antony Visocchi said he was “so proud” of Ms Hopwood for coming up with the idea and seeing this through.
“She has been supported throughout the project by the rest of the enthusiastic team,” she said.
“There is no doubt that this has been a huge task.
“The genuine concern for limited access to dental services through the pandemic has been huge.
“This initiative is typical of the approach of the whole dental service by putting our patients first and trying to maintain the great work that has been going on in Shetland for years.
“Almost all dental disease is preventable. The lifestyle that we all employ at home regarding dietary habits, especially sugar frequency, brushing and interdental brushing are the most important factors to avoid disease and maintain oral health.
“For each household to have the information in this booklet to hand, will allow easy and repeated access to the main messages of prevention.”
Other attempts to break down barriers to care include the team’s Facebook and Twitter pages, which the board says have been a “huge success”