13 JUNE 2023

Edinburgh Community Food is pleased to announce its fantastic project focused on oral health.

‘Eat Well for Oral Health’ is a community-based food skills and nutrition project. It hopes to drive oral health improvements for those affected by socio-economic and race inequalities across Edinburgh, the Lothians with the aim to reach across Scotland.

This is a collaborative initiative between Edinburgh Community Food nutritionists and LINKnet Mentoring’s overseas dentist, Ahmed Bagaber. 

It’s designed to empower Scots and ethnic minorities to make healthier dietary choices that benefit not only their overall health but specifically their oral health.

Eat Well for Oral Health focuses on teaching and enhancing cooking skills and nutrition knowledge, which can benefit our oral health.   

Eating a healthy balanced diet provides the variety of vitamins and minerals which are needed to maintain a healthy mouth and gums.
The project has reached so far nearly 2,000 households in the past 2 years across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Edinburgh Community Food Senior Food and Health Development Officer Jo Howie said: "We are thrilled to promote the success of our 'Eat Well for Oral Health' project this National Smile Month. 

“The importance of nutrition and its relation to good oral health cannot be overstated: with the current challenging food environment and difficulties with accessing an NHS dentist, never has it been more crucial for us to support people in vulnerable circumstances to prevent oral health problems.”

Anyone who takes part in the project will also get advice and support on oral health, guidance on how to access an NHS Dentist as well as free nutrition and oral health resources.

The project is governed and funded by The Scottish Government and managed by the NHS Lothian’s Oral Health Improvement Team.  
NHS Education for Scotland has worked closely with Edinburgh Community Food and LINKnet Mentoring to create bite-sized learning resources ‘Open Badges’ for oral health aimed at community workers to support families going forward using evidence-based knowledge.

Karen Coates registered dental nurse and oral health educator said: “We don’t have enough education in the UK around how diet can affect our mouths and bodies.

“Raw nuts, vegetables, cheese and even breadsticks are tooth-friendly choices that are healthy. Although sugary and acidic food and drink may appear affordable and appealing, the consequences to our health may be both costly and unpleasant in the long run.”

The project links individual participants through already existing community groups, concentrating on helping as many people as possible.

As part of National Smile Month, the community project also participated in the Oral Health Foundation’s podcast which can be listened to on Spotify. Giving out great advice and the occasional laugh on dental health, you can listen here.

Aside from Edinburgh there are also Eat Well for Oral Health sessions in East, West and Midlothian. If you would like to learn more go to www.edinburghcommunityfood.org.uk/eat-well-for-oral-health.

Photo Credit to Leo Paredes Photography