By MORGAN MANNS
Kids whose families can’t afford dental care may not smile as often as others.
However, lots area children will be showing off their pearly whites come February.
Local dentist offices will be giving kids a reason to smile by offering free teeth cleanings through a nationwide program Feb. 3.
Drs. Thomas Guernsey and Steven Geroski will “Give Kids a Smile” from 7:10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Tri-County Dental Center LLC., 521 Summit St., while Dr. Timothy Sulken offers the free service from 8 a.m. to noon at Tim Sulken D.D.S. Dentistry, 335 N. Main St.
“We like to help children who would not otherwise be able to receive dental care,” Linda O’Dell, business administrator at Sulken’s office, said. “What (Sulken) normally likes to do is get them in here for cleaning and exams and likes to try and get as much restorative work done while they’re here as he can.”
Through the program, the offices will provide free preventative dental care — such as cleanings, x-rays, fluoride treatments, sealants, restorative services and exams — to children and young adults up to the age of 18 who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it.
Additionally, hygienists will provide dental education to those in the chairs to help give them tips on how to keep their mouths and teeth clean.
Teaching dental care at an early age is good, according to O’Dell, to ensure children develop an understanding that taking care of their mouths is just as important as taking care of the rest of their bodies.
“If they form good habits when they’re young, it will help them the rest of their lives,” she said.
Give Kids a Smile program was instated by the American Dental Association in 2003 as a statewide program to provide dental services to those who may not be able to afford it.
The ultimate goal for the program, according to the ADA website, is to “establish a dental home” for underprivileged children and provide a “continuity of care.” Each year, approximately 450,000 children benefit from more than 1,500 events.
Across Ohio, more than $12 million in donated dental care and oral health education has been provided since 2003. More than 1,900 dentists, dental professionals and educations will volunteer to educate children about good oral health and provide dental services for Ohio’s underserved children.
“This is our chance to give back to our community and help children in need in Fostoria,” said Guernsey. “We know families are busy and oral health may not always be the top priority but this is a great opportunity to access free dental care for kids who could truly benefit.”
In 2016, Drs. Guernsey and Geroski reported seeing 27 children for a total of $10,377 worth of dental services while Dr. Sulken was able to help approximately 25 children.
Patients will be seen by appointment only.
To make an appointment at Tri-County Dental Center, call 419-435-3255.
To make an appointment with Dr. Sulken’s office, call 419-435-6700.
For more information on the worldwide event, visit http://www.ada.org/givekidsasmile.aspx.