Give Kids a Smile event a success

8 years ago

PATTEN, Maine — Katahdin Valley Health Center hosted a Give Kids a Smile event at its dental clinics located in Ashland, Houlton and Millinocket during the month of February. Give Kids a Smile is the cornerstone of National Children’s Dental Health Month and sponsored by the American Dental Association in order to raise awareness of the importance of good oral health.

Eleven different dental professionals including two dentists volunteered their time to offer free dental care to uninsured children under the age of eighteen. KVHC provided over $10,217 worth of dental care to 34 children who had signed up for the events. Services ranged from exams, dental x-rays, and cleanings to preventive fluoride treatments, sealants, fillings, and extractions.

“A one day event like Give Kids a Smile is not a cure all,” said Dr. Tod Twichell, one of the participating dentists. “I’m proud of what we accomplished here today, but there is no way all of these children’s needs could be met in a single day. It’s just as important for us to make it known that good oral health is required for good overall health and that dental care in the form of daily oral hygiene such as brushing and flossing at home and check-ups in the dental office are necessary to ensure a healthy child. Untreated dental disease is painful and affects a child’s physical, emotional, and social development. Kids with untreated dental decay can’t eat or sleep properly; they can’t concentrate in school, not to mention how it affects them emotionally. Unfortunately, we are unlikely to wipe out untreated dental disease in America until we as a society get serious about prevention at an early age.”

It should also be mentioned that the bacteria that cause dental decay are transferred to the mouths of young children from other family members who have active dental disease. Parents and children who have untreated dental disease, should not share food items or utensils and should have their mouth treated by a dental professional to avoid a cycle of infection.

Katahdin Valley Health Center officials thank the dedicated team of dental professionals for donating their time to make a difference in the lives of the children and families who participated in this year’s Give Kids a Smile event, as well as the area Headstart Programs, School Districts, and other organizations who helped promote the event.

Katahdin Valley Health Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center dedicated to providing quality, low-cost health care to the Katahdin region. KVHC has clinics located in Patten, Houlton, Island Falls, Millinocket, Ashland and Brownville.