More than 110 area children left Owens Community College recently with pearly white teeth and bright smiling faces, courtesy of the Dental Hygiene program, as part of the nationwide Give Kids A Smile Day.
Owens’ Dental Hygiene program, in collaboration with the Toledo Dental Society, was among thousands of organizations that provided free dental services and educational outreach for children with limited or no access to care across the country. Owens is based in Perrysburg Township.
“It’s a lot of fun to help children who are in need of help,” stated Owens dental hygiene student Nicole Buchanan of Genoa, who intends on pursuing a career as a dental hygienist after graduating from Owens and obtaining her bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. “Give Kids A Smile Day provides a great opportunity for Owens students like myself share what we have learned and to give back.”
Give Kids A Smile Day is a national initiative by the American Dental Association, which is dedicated to focusing attention on the epidemic of untreated oral disease among disadvantaged children. Held each February as part of National Children’s Dental Health Month, Give Kids A Smile Day provides free oral health education, screening and treatment services to children from low-income families across the country.
“I really appreciate all the volunteers who take the time to help others on this day,” said Trisha Truman of Curtice, whose three children attended the event. “My family has attended Give Kids A Smile Day for the past several years. We are extremely thankful to everyone who make this such a great event.”
For 5-year-old Lea Wauford of Northwood, the dental experience at Owens resulted in somewhat expected and unexpected gifts.
“I lost my first tooth today,” explained an excited Wauford. “I’m going to put it under my pillow for the tooth fairy. They gave me a pink princess toothbrush. Pink is my favorite color.”
In addition to providing the free dental services, Owens students instructed parents and children about dental health.
The college’s Dental Hygiene program provides more than 40 students with a fully accredited, scientifically current and competency-based curriculum annually. The program offers dental services to area residents through its Dental Hygiene Clinic.