Program offers reason to smile

There will be more reasons to smile beginning Wednesday.

Thanks to efforts of area dentists and hygientists who volunteer their time and talents, as well as Eastern Gateway Community College dental assisting students, local children taking part in the 11th-annual Give Kids A Smile event will be all smiles later this week.

Open Wednesday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at EGCC, the program will serve dozens of children from local low-income families with free dental services ranging from cleanings to fillings as part of national Give Kids A Smile event.

The event has been held at EGCC for many years and allows children from local low-income families to receive free dental services ranging from screenings and cleanings to fillings.

That means hundreds of area children have benefited from free dental care, thanks to the efforts of Wintersville dentist Thomas Matanzo; Tammy Graham, EGCC dental assisting program director; and Donna Robinson, dental assisting program consultant, who led the three-day effort again this year.

This health care event is observed during National Children’s Dental Health Month.

Raising awareness of the importance of dental care among youngsters definitely should not be a second thought. Too often underserved children’s dental care takes a back seat to other health care issues, and oftentimes tooth decay takes hold.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that one in four children ages 2-11 has untreated cavities in their baby teeth, and those cavities can lead to a lot of pain and a loss of sleep, and that can lead to problems concentrating in school.

That’s why we appreciate the efforts of the local dentists and hygienists, as well as college dental students, who have give their time and efforts to help prevent tooth decay among our younger generation.

We realize also that Give Kids A Smile Day allows children – some for the first time – to learn and experience proper dental care in comfortable surroundings.

We’re sure, too, that the volunteers enjoy being a part of the experience. After all, it gives them a chance to hone their skills while helping youngsters along the way.

The annual Give Kids A Smile program is a win-win situation for all involved.