Oral hygiene, pearly white teeth and smiling faces were the order of the day at
Owens dental hygiene student Allysha Wells of
Owens Community College as more than 150 area children received free dental service courtesy of the Dental Hygiene program as part of the nationwide Give Kids A Smile Day Feb. 5.
Owens’ Dental Hygiene program, in collaboration with the Toledo Dental Society, was among thousands of organizations that provided free dental services and educational outreach for “at-risk” children across the country.
For 5-year-old Bailey Hillman, of Luckey, the experience of having her teeth cleaned was “pretty cool.” Showing off her shiny white teeth to her grandmother, Sharon Swartz, also of Luckey, Bailey was excited to see her take-home gifts that included SpongeBob Squarepants toothpaste.
“I like my new toothpaste because SpongeBob is my favorite,” she said. Having my teeth cleaned tickled a little bit.”
Give Kids A Smile Day is a national initiative by the American Dental Association, which is dedicated to focusing attention on the epidemic of untreated oral disease among disadvantaged children. Held each February in conjunction with National Children’s Dental Health Month, the event provides free oral health education, screening and treatment services to children from low-income families across the country.
“Give Kids A Smile Day is a great event that makes children aware of the importance of brushing their teeth and getting their teeth cleaned,” Bailey’s grandmother said. “I want to thank Owens Community College for making this day possible.”
“If untreated, tooth decay just continues to get worse and affects children’s overall health,” said Beth Tronolone, Owens chair of Dental Hygiene.
Give Kids A Smile Day is also a wonderful opportunity to raise the importance and awareness of preventive dental care such as flossing, brushing and regular dental visits, she added.
Dental services available for free throughout the day included dental education and screening, X-rays, oral prophylaxis (cleanings), limited restorations and dental sealants. In addition, Owens students from the health program provided educational presentations for parents and children.
Owens’program also offers dental services to area residents through its Dental Hygiene Clinic. The 20-chair clinic is staffed by dental hygiene students and supervised by licensed dental professionals at Owens, and appointments are available during the Fall and Spring semesters for a $25 fee.