Low-income San Mateo County youth to receive free dental care on ‘Smile Day’ 

click to enlarge Smile Day
  • Smile Day gives San Mateo kids free dental services.
Dentists across San Mateo County will offer free services to children from low-income families as part of Give Kids a Smile Day on Friday.

For 10 years running, the San Mateo County Health System and San Mateo County Dental Society have partnered to sponsor the event, which is a part of National Children’s Dental Health Month each February.

Eleven dentists from throughout the county are volunteering their time this year, offering 112 free appointments to residents ages 1 to 18 who have various dental needs and would otherwise be unable to afford the care.

Participating dentists will provide services including oral exams, teeth cleanings and fluoride treatments. Toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss will be given out as well.

“Nearly one in four children, ages 2 to 11, has untreated cavities in their baby teeth,” said Dr. Gracia Cua of the dental society. “Untreated dental disease is painful and affects a child’s physical, emotional and social well-being, and yet it is preventable through brushing, flossing, proper diet and regular visits to the dentist.”

County employees and volunteers will be on hand at the event to promote awareness about the importance of dental care and to help families enroll their children in insurance programs, including Medi-Cal, Healthy Kids and Covered California.

“San Mateo County Health System’s Health Coverage Unit assists families in applying for health and dental insurance, and the Child Health Services Dental Program follows up with families to make sure there’s follow-through,” said Robyn Thaw, a spokeswoman for the San Mateo County Health System.

Nationwide, nearly 10,000 dentists are expected to serve 345,630 children in the one-day event. Supplies have been donated by national medical distributor Henry Schein through the American Dental Association, which sponsors the Give Kids a Smile program.

Local residents with children who might qualify can call the San Mateo County Health Coverage Unit at (650) 616-2002 to check on the availability of remaining appointments.

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S. Parker Yesko

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