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Giving kids a smile

There were plenty of smiles last week, as the annual Eastern Gateway Community College’s Give Kids a Smile event took place on the school’s campus.

Thanks to the caring efforts of area dentists and hygientists who volunteer their time and talents, as well as Eastern Gateway Community College dental assisting students, local children were able to have their teeth cleaned and checked free of charge.

The program served dozens of children, age 12 and under, from local low-income families with free dental services ranging from cleanings to X-rays, fluoride treatments and fillings as part of national Give Kids A Smile event.

That means hundreds of area children have benefited from free dental care through the years — since 2003 — thanks to the area dentists and dental hygienists, EGCC volunteers and volunteers with the Eastern Ohio Dental Society.

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

Raising awareness of the importance of dental care among youngsters is extremely important, as 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 between the ages of 2 and 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 given their time to help prevent tooth decay for many area youngsters. We realize also that Give Kids a Smile Day allows children — some for the first time — to learn and experience proper dental care in a comfortable surrounding.

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.

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