Dentists work together to give kids free dental care

By Lauren Lowrey - bio | email 

Posted by Nick Dutton - email

FINDLAY, OH (WTOL) - The annual Give Kids A Smile campaign kicks off Friday. It gives children from low-to-moderate income families free dental cleanings.

Dentists and hygienists from across northwest Ohio have dedicated the day to help eliminate dental disease for eight years. According to the Surgeon General, dental disease is the number one unmet health care need in the state of Ohio and U.S.

Give Kids A Smile is an American Dental Association and Ohio Dental Association sponsored program. All of the dental societies, like the Toledo Dental Society, will participate Friday across Ohio. The dentist run volunteer program helps children in need to address lack of access to dental care problems in the U.S.

"We're looking for those people and those families that kind of fall through the gaps, where they don't have a large amount of funds, and they don't have insurance where they can comfortably take their families to the dentist," said dentist Nanette Tertel.

Children 19 and under are eligible if their family income is at 300 percent of the poverty level. Basically, the income limit starts at $30,000 dollars for a one-person household and increases by $10,000 for each family member. So, a family of four making $61,950 or less would qualify.

"Going to a dentist is expensive," said Tertel. "A family of four, just to come into a dental office just to get their teeth cleaned can be a $500 bill."

The free service will take place Friday at the Dental Center of Northwest Ohio, Owens Community College, UTMC and the Findlay Dental Center.

If kids miss the free sessions, they can still get cleanings at a reduced rate for $25 if they meet the income eligibility guidelines.

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