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Volunteer dentists ‘Give Kids a Smile’

Posted: 4:38 PM, Feb 11, 2012
Updated: 2012-03-27 13:12:05-04
Volunteer dentists ‘Give Kids a Smile’

Dentists from across the state teamed up Saturday to offer free services for kids who can't afford checkups.

The national Give Kids a Smile program provides free dental care, from cleanings to fillings, to kids aged 2 to 18 who would otherwise be unable to get it. The kids had been preselected for Saturday's cleanings.

"We take and see children that don't have access to care," said Dr. Jim Williamson, one of the volunteer dentists.

Utah's program is sponsored in part by the Utah Dental Association and the Utah Medical Department of Dental Education, but all dentists are volunteers.

When problems in the mouth go unnoticed or untreated, they can spread to other places in the body. That's why preventative care is so important for the kids getting cleanings.

"If we have gingivitis and gum disease, it provides an access for bacteria to get into our blood system which can lead to endocarditis which is vegetations on the heart valves," said Williamson.

For more on the Give Kids a Smile program, visit www.ada.org.