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Appointments open for 'Give Kids a Smile' on Feb. 1

WILLMAR -- Rice Regional Dental Clinic at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar is joining with dental professionals across the country for the American Dental Association's 17th annual "Give Kids a Smile" day. The one-day event is Feb. 1 and provide...

A bright light illuminates the teeth of Estrella Paxtor Lopez as dental student Nick Schulte works on her in early August of 2017. Schulte and other University of Minnesota dental students work at Rice Regional Dental Clinic in Willmar, getting experience and learning about rural living. Don Davis / Forum News Service
Don Davis / Forum News Service A bright light illuminates the teeth of a young patient at Rice Regional Dental Clinic in Willmar in this August 2017 file photo. The American Dental Association’s 17th annual “Give Kids a Smile” one-day event is Feb. 1, and the Rice clinic is taking appointments now for times between 1 and 4 p.m. that day for free dental services.

WILLMAR - Rice Regional Dental Clinic at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar is joining with dental professionals across the country for the American Dental Association's 17th annual "Give Kids a Smile" day.

The one-day event is Feb. 1 and provides free dental services to children whose families face barriers to dental care. Services include free oral screenings by a local volunteer dentist, cleanings, fluoride varnishes, sealants, extractions, oral hygiene instruction, and family dental education.

Appointments are being accepted for Feb. 1 between 1 and 4 p.m. Qualifying individuals (low-income children ages 0-17 who are not currently patients at another dental office) should call Rice Regional Dental Clinic at 320-214-2620.

This is the ninth year that Rice Regional Dental Clinic has participated in "Give Kids a Smile." Last year, nine local volunteers helped with the event, including local dentists, hygienists, assistants, students from the University of Minnesota, office personnel, and area public health nurses. Community business support is also an integral part of the event.

The volunteers treated 65 children and provided 325 procedures, valued at $22,653. Many were teenagers who had never been to a dentist before. The volunteers also met with parents, instructing them on proper oral hygiene, healthy dietary choices, benefits of fluoridated water for their children's teeth, and the need for regular dental check-ups.

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"We want to help families experience a caring dental visit and learn about the connection of oral health to overall health," said Dr. Linda Jackson, director of Rice Regional Dental Clinic. "Prevention of early cavities and oral disease will produce positive outcomes for life."

According to the American Dental Association, more than 181 million Americans won't visit a dentist this year, even though nearly half of people over 30 suffer from some form of gum disease. Nearly one in four children under 5 already has cavities and approximately a quarter of the children in the U.S. do not have dental insurance, either private or public.

Related Topics: HEALTH
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