– and also brush your teeth
can improve quality of life. That is the message of the
Eat and Smile project, a University initiative which is
working very closely and successfully with the community
to promote health. The project aims to encourage the older
members of the Pakistani community in Leeds to have regular
dental checkups and increase their awareness of oral health.
shown that there is a lower take up of dental services
among UK Muslim South Asians, as compared to the UK population
as a whole. The older members of the community also show
increased risk of oral cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart
disease, and this is often aggravated by the use of tobacco,
either smoked or chewed. Gum disease, also associated
with smoking and chewing tobacco, has been shown to be
more prevalent amongst South Asians, and this condition
makes it hard to control diabetes.
Institute is tackling these problems through the Eat and
Smile project, which brings together community representatives,
dentists, health promotion specialists, pharmacists and
research scientists in an attempt to understand the issues
through the eyes of the target community.
has studied attitudes to oral health within the South
Asian community, looking at both current practices and
reasons why access to dental services might be difficult.
The aim is to generate ideas of good practice, which may
also be applicable on a national basis with other minority
so far have been incorporated into an oral health promotion
video in Punjabi, which is to be launched at two public
events in Beeston and at the Town Hall. A training pack
for community educators is also under development.