HUNDREDS of people have been treated by a mobile dentist surgery since its launch nearly two months ago.
The tooth bus has treated 550 patients since arriving in Oxfordshire in November – more than half-way to its 1,000 target by the time it leaves the county in February.
Barton residents are welcoming the bus – which is fully equipped for dental checks – to their estate on Monday.
The service offers free check-ups to anyone who lives in Oxfordshire who has not seen an NHS dentist in the last two years.
Barton Community Association secretary Sue Holden said: “I think the tooth bus is a brilliant idea because there is still the perception of fear around dentists – that is probably one of the main reasons that stop people from going.
“We have no dentists locally at all – the nearest is in Headington which for most is a bus ride away.
“Bringing it to the doorstep is a really good service and it makes it so accessible to everybody from young children to the elderly.
“Hopefully they will all take full advantage.”
Shapour Hariri, director of the Iosis Dental Clinic which runs the tooth bus, said: “The most common problems we find that require treatment and referral to an NHS dentist are tooth decay and gum disease.
“The bus has been offering oral hygiene advice as well as check-ups to a large number of people.
“We are regularly out and about in local communities providing oral health talks to groups such as schools, Sure Start centres and local employers.”
“If you feel your local community group could benefit from oral hygiene advice, please get in touch with us.
“We are in Barton this week and in the county for another couple of months and would urge anybody who has not yet been to see us to check out our website – toothbus.co.uk – to find out where we will be stopping and to book an appointment.”
Lack of regular attendance at NHS dentists is a particular problem in the county, with Oxfordshire ranked 120 out of 150 primary care trust areas across the country.
According to the most recent Department of Health statistics, only 48 per cent of adults in Oxfordshire – or 236,235 people – had seen an NHS dentist in the two years up to March 2012.
There were 552 tooth extractions carried out on children in 2011/12 and most were from the OX3, OX4 and OX16 postcode areas.
Book an appointment by visiting toothbus.co.uk or call 0844 8805331.
Broad Street, Oxford
Monday to Weds:
Barton Community Centre
Thursday to next Saturday:
Roundabout Centre, Wayneflete Road, Headington