Bright smiles charity ride

Graphic: Bright smiles charity ride

Clocking up the miles helps kids keep their Bright Smiles

Date published

24 Apr 2018

Oral health is a big issue, particularly in regional, rural and remote areas, where access to services is limited and long distances have to be driven in order to get treatment.  

This was highlighted in the 2016 Filling the Gaps report published by the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) that found: 

Childhood cavities are 55% higher for children in remote areas; 

- One third (33%) of people in remote areas are living with untreated tooth decay compared with 23% in the cities; 

- One third (34%) of people in remote areas have gum disease compared to 22% in the cities; 

- Only four in 10 adults living in remote areas visited a dentist in the previous 12 months compared with six in every 10 adults in major cities. 

The South Eastern Section of the RFDS (RFDS SE) is working to reduce the gap in health and wellness between those living in remote, rural and regional areas and those in the cities -­‐ with a little help from our friends.  

The Bright Smiles Charity Ride takes to the road on Thursday, 26 April at Pokobin in the Hunter Valley. The riders will travel more than 1,300 kms along the back roads, staying overnight at; Coonabarabran, Dubbo and Parkes.

“I’m pleased to say that the third edition of the Bright Smiles charity motorcycle ride will again be supporting the RFDS SE’s oral health program,” said Outback Car Trek (OBT) and Bright Smiles organiser Bill Patrick.  

“The dental service has made great strides since we started Bright Smiles. The team has been expanded and a dental van enables the team to service communities without airstrips where the RFDS SE fly-­‐in clinics can’t go.” 

Last year, the Bright Smiles Charity Ride raised in excess of $40,000 to support the RFDS South Eastern Section’s (RFDS SE) oral health service.  

Bright Smiles is the motorcycling offshoot of the OBT, a week-­‐long annual bush pilgrimage featuring over 100 pre-­‐1978 vintage cars. The OBT has raised over $26 million for the RFDS since its inception in 1990 and will embark on its 29th Trek from Tamworth to Airlie Beach on 2 June.  

“Bright Smiles has been delighted to contribute towards dental health in the bush and we’re hoping to grow the event so we can continue to support the great work they do.”   

The Bright Smiles riders will visit the RFDS SE Base at Dubbo on Saturday, 28 April at 3pm to look over an aircraft and meet the team who have helped to restore dental health to some of NSW’s most vulnerable and remote communities.

“We’re very keen to get the dental message over to the community, as I don’t think people realise how severely poor oral health can impact them,” said RFDS SE Dentist, Dr Jenny Pham.

“Oral disease, particularly when left untreated, is associated with certain cardiovascular diseases, respiratory illnesses, and other chronic diseases. Other common conditions such as endocarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart), stroke, aspiration pneumonia, diabetes, kidney disease, and some adverse pregnancy outcomes, are also associated with poor oral health.”

Since its launch in 2012, the Dubbo dental program has provided over 1,200 clinics and treated over 7,000 patients in the Central West, where access to dental care was either non-­‐existent or extremely challenging.