Updated 02/01/2013 01:13 PM
Durham County aims to keep kids smiling with free dental clinic
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DURHAM — The Durham County Department of Public Health spent the day making sure kids in need have the dental care they deserve during its annual “Give Kids A Smile Day”.
People turned out early Friday morning to get the chance to see a dentist without the hefty cost. This is the ninth year for Give Kids a Smile Day. The Durham County Department of Public health says it's a way to help the community and the kids who may be suffering from severe tooth aches and decay.
Organizers said the one day of dental care can have a lasting impact. It was a visit that had been a long time coming for patient Nathalie Gonzalez.
“I haven't been to the dentist in five years. I was just excited,” said Nathalie Gonzalez.
Her story is like many others. On Friday dozens of kids like Nathalie Gonzalez made their way to the Durham County Department of Public Health for the annual event that gives kids dental care free of charge.
Dentists say the benefits the kids receive extends far beyond a a bright smile. Many will go on to have a good night's rest and better performance in school.
They also say neglecting the dentist on a regular basis can lead to bigger issues down the road.
“Bacteria from the mouth that [stays] there because of tooth decay or gum disease contributes to heart disease and diabetes,” said Dr. Miriam McIntosh.
Regular trips to the dentist can be costly topping hundreds of dollars without insurance. However, the complimentary appointment has parents smiling too.
“It's a good option for me. This a good program. I like it,” said Gilda Gonzalez.
It is a good program that gives kids the regular care they need along with priceless benefits that last a lifetime.