Dental care grants bringing smiles to those in need

By Jessica Tyson

Mental health patients, vulnerable children, and rough sleepers are just some of the people who will benefit from funding provided to beneficiaries through the 2018 Community Service Grants.

The grants, by the Wrigley Company Foundation supported by the New Zealand Dental Association, will help some of New Zealand’s most in-need citizens including the elderly, abuse victims, refugees, high-risk ethnic groups and low-income families.

Spokesperson for the Wrigley Company Foundation, Victoria Hamilton, says the grants will help tackle the clear disparities in the standards of oral health across New Zealand.

"The most high-risk and under-serviced groups in our communities are less likely to maintain a good level of oral health as a result of these gaps, so the grants are vitally important to help dental professionals cover costs of supplies, treatments and other expenses for crucial oral health services."

The grants this year include five oral care education grants worth around $1,500 each, five treatment grants worth around $4,500 each, a $15,000 Principles in Action grant, and a $7,500 Pacific Region Dental Aid grant.

The $15,000 grant has been awarded to a collaborative project by the Canterbury District Health Board, which aims to tackle some of the oral health issues facing local mental health patients.

Treatment grants of $4,500 each have been awarded to five projects across the country, including the well-known Revive a Smile project taking its popular mobile clinic to the Ngaruawahia and North Waikato to provide unemployed and low-income adults with essential dental treatment.

Starship Children’s Hospital has won a $1,500 education grant to support a programme to help children with heart conditions receive preventative oral hygiene care

In the Ruapehu region, an education grant will help support a new water-only policy at Raetihi Primary School, which has been working to address an unpleasant taste in its local water source.