Press release

Dental students show support for Ukrainian refugees

Published on 29 March 2023

Ukrainian refugees who were forced to flee their homeland are to receive free dental health advice at an event hosted by University of Dundee students.

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A group from the University’s School of Dentistry will attend a city hotel on Wednesday 29 March, providing toothbrushes, toothpaste and advice to those displaced by the Russian invasion.

The initiative has been spearheaded by the Toothy Tigers group, which sees staff and student volunteers work with people throughout the local community to improve dental health and address inequality.

Student Hannah Milner said, “The Toothy Tigers aim to engage with the Dundee community and promote oral health for all. It is important to connect with the public, chat about some of the barriers to accessing healthcare and do what we can to help change this.

“Connecting with the refugees here in Dundee is an important part of building strong relations in our community. We hope this event will open conversations on oral health while also demonstrating our support for the people of Ukraine.”

Ukrainians who have been displaced to Dundee by the conflict have been receiving support from healthcare organisations within the city, while nationally refugees from the country are entitled to register with an NHS dentist. However, with patients often having to endure long waiting times for treatment, Dundee students were keen to reach out to the local Ukrainian community to provide basic advice and aids aimed at encouraging a positive oral health regime.

Community focussed initiatives are a key component of the Dundee Dental Hospital and Research School, empowering students to speak and engage with local schools and specific groups. Working with University staff, the Toothy Tigers programme allows students to develop their personal interaction skills while spreading the word about the importance of looking after your pearly whites.

In tandem with this latest initiative, students are also working with a local foodbank to help ensure that those affected by the cost of living crisis are provided with oral health support.

Dr Clement Seeballuck, a Lecturer in Paediatric Dentistry working with the students, said, “Our students are proactive in developing new opportunities that will enhance their training. These initiatives play a significant part of this, giving them experience of working across our local community, which will ultimately help them in their future careers.

“We know that there is a significant Ukrainian population in Dundee currently, and to be able to provide even the smallest bit of assistance will hopefully make their stay in the city as pleasant as possible.

“It is a huge testament to the generosity of our students that they have organised this event and we hope that it emphasises the strength of support that the city feels towards the Ukrainian people.”

This event is the latest show of solidarity to the people of Ukraine from the University, which has publicly condemned the Russian invasion and expressed its desire to support Ukrainian students. It has already partnered with Dnipro State Medical University (DSMU) to allow some of its students to continue with their training, with Dundee subsequently being recognised for its support with a special medal of gratitude from its partner institution.


Jonathan Watson

Senior Press Officer

+44 (0)1382 381489