A NEW recycling scheme should bring a smile to lots of faces.

St Helen's Dental Practice in Cockermouth has joined the Terracycle scheme and is now a collection point for old toothbrushes/toothpaste tubes and their packaging.

Dentist Amanda Strong said: "We are delighted that Sainsbury's has kindly agreed to place one of the collection points in their Cockermouth store.

"The great thing about this is that Terracycle will donate the proceeds from the recycling to our chosen charity – which is Bridge2aid."

Bridge2aid send teams of dentists and nurses out into remote areas to train healthcare workers to extract teeth.

Amanda went out to Tanzania for two week with the charity in 2017, and is going back again in September.

"Many Tanzanians in remote areas suffer toothache for years as they cannot access any dental care," she said.

"The money raised for Bridge2aid buys pressure cookers (used as sterilisers) and head torches (most clinics don't have electricity), so we would be really grateful for all the old toothbrushes/packaging that can be donated in these collection points."

Tanzania has a population of 57 million and only 111 dentists.

"Seventy percent of the population have no access to dental care. Bridge2aid has formed links with the government and trains local health care workers how to extract teeth," said Amanda.

The charity was set up 15 years ago and is always overwhelmed with people desperately in need when it posts notices to say that free clinics will be held.

"People who have had pain and swelling for two or three years will walk for up to three days to get treatment," said Amanda.

"The situation is really serious. In the district where I worked there was one dental officer to 60,000 people, when we left, six more people had been trained to extract teeth.

"Their work is so important and I am grateful to anyone who supports it."