Free Dental Clinic Brightens Smiles for those in Need

Dental hygienists from throughout Windsor-Essex recently plied their trade free of charge for the Downtown Mission.

Around 17 patients got their teeth cleaned and received some tips from professionals as part of 'Something to Smile About' program at the mission's Al Quesnel Community Dental Centre in downtown Windsor.

Ontario Oral Health reports more than 2.3-million people can't afford dental care.

Trevor Lupton showed up to centre on Ouellette Ave. near Elliott St. to support his wife, who was volunteering at the clinic.

Lupton tells AM800 News he and his wife are doing okay, but like many others they have to work hard to make ends meet.

He says it's not hard to empathize with those without insurance who have to choose between dental care and life's necessities.

"You don't really think about it in your day to day, but if you let your oral hygiene go for some time there's just an array of other issues that go along with it. The infections ... it's just bad," he says.

Lupton says spending hundreds of dollars on a teeth cleaning can be a luxury for many people without insurance, and the health impacts can be serious.

"There's a lot of health conditions that stem from poor oral hygiene, if we can save a few more people just by helping keep a clean mouth I think it's a great program," says Lupton.

He says many people don't realize food and shelter isn't the only thing needed for a healthy lifestyle.

"Just having this as another option for them so they can get that dental work done that is otherwise not available to them because of lack of funds," he added.

Organizers say 17 people may not seem like a high number, but when you look at the time needed for proper treatment, up to an hour, it's an impressive day of work for volunteers.