Cleaning children's smiles - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Cleaning children's smiles

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Candy can certainly bring a smile to a child's face, but Friday dentists were battling what those sugars leave behind to improve their smiles.

For the eighth year now, the students, staff and area dentists provided free dental services to children at Chippewa Valley Technical College.

15 dentists, 22 students and more than 100 kids pack the Chippewa Valley Technical College's dental health center to shine up the little one's smiles.

"All the kids get their teeth cleaned, a fluoride varnish, x-rays if needed and then tooth brushing instruction and toothbrush and toothpaste to take home," says Dental Program Director, Pam Entorf.

It's part of a community outreach program called Give Kids a Smile, which helps families who may not be able to visit the dentist regularly.

"It teaches the little kids how to brush better and mom and dad to teach the little kids how to brush better," says parent Angie Noeldner.

The sooner kids begin brushing and flossing, the better chance they have against complications like gum disease.

"[It] Can cause, potentially, a heart attack because it's an inflammatory process.  So when you have periodontal disease or gum disease, your body has this ongoing chronic infection.  Your body is always trying to fight that infection," says Entorf.

But thanks to the cleaning and care of these current and future dental workers, parents have a little less to worry about.

"I think it's great.  I don't think there's many opportunities for children to come into dental practices and this is a good opportunity to get stuff done," says Noeldner

"We've seen kids with their mouths, they need four, five, six extractions.  They're losing a lot of their teeth and there's a lot of decay.  So a lot of unmet needs in the community," says Entorf.

Now those needs are being met by the dental community as they clean up children's tooth troubles.

"They did a nice job, they were good with the kids and a lot of smiles," says Noeldner.

Shining bright and clean.

The clinic helped kids ages 2-13 as part of a national effort which estimated helping more than 400,000 kids today.

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