Dentaid The Dental Charity has won a prestigious national award for its work providing outreach dental care for head and neck cancer patients.

The dental charity was named winner of the Best Healthcare Support by a UK Charity Award at the Our Health Heroes Awards delivered by Skills for Health.

Volunteer dental professionals provide treatment for head and neck cancer patients before, during, or after their cancer treatment at University Hospital Southampton. The project has been funded in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support and Southampton Hospitals Charity and has provided more than 100 people experiencing cancer with pain-relieving and restorative dental care.

Dental treatment is delivered on Dentaid’s charity dental units. The mobile vans travel the UK, providing outreach care for people experiencing homelessness, poverty, abuse and health inequalities.

In addition to providing essential treatments like extractions and fillings, the service for cancer patients in Southampton has provided dentures for those who lost teeth due to radiotherapy treatment, helping to increase their confidence and self-esteem.

Alison Whitehead, who’s received treatment and dentures thanks to the project, said, “I got diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, and since then, I lost all my confidence mainly because most of my teeth fell out due to the treatment I was having. What I miss most about my teeth is being able to smile and laugh without the feeling that people may be looking at me. I also miss not being able to eat and drink what I want to.

“Thanks to Dentaid I am finally able to smile and feel confident in myself. I’m so excited to be able to smile again. I can’t wait to eat the foods again I haven’t had for years. This is going to change my life.”

Accepting the award at ceremony held in London, fundraising manager Peter Burch said, “I think being voted as winners by others is the biggest praise that we can get. But we wouldn’t be here today receiving rewards like this without our volunteers and our fabulous team back in Southampton.

“There are so many people experiencing challenging times in their lives and dental pain makes things even more difficult. We work tirelessly to take a service to them and help people improve their dental health which can have a huge impact on their general wellbeing and confidence.”