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Weekend event offers free dental care for kids in Oneida and Madison Counties

By CAROLINE GABLE

ONEIDA AND MADISON COUNTIES, N.Y. (WKTV) - Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children in the U.S. It is five times more prevalent than asthma in children.

A local effort is working to make sure little smiles are big in Oneida and Madison Counties.

Good dental hygiene starts early, and cleaning your teeth is about more than just getting a white smile.

Poor dental health is linked to diabetes and heart disease, plus a lack of brushing can lead to infections.

For kids without a dental home, it can be a slippery slope, even affecting a child's growth because kids whose teeth ache won't want to eat.

From 2004 to 2006, about 25% of 3rd graders in Oneida County hadn't been to the dentist in the past year, but now the "Give Kids A Smile" program is hoping to change that.

Five locations will open their doors to children age four to ten this Saturday for Oneida-Madison Give Kids a Smile.

Those locations include:

Faxton St. Luke's Dental Health Center
1714 Burrstone Road
New Hartford

Slavin, Jackson & Burns DDR
2534 Genesee Street
Utica

Goel Family Dentistry
132 Albany Street
Cazenovia

Dr. Pablo R. Elizondo DMD
311 W. Thomas St.
Rome

Camden Dental PC
68 Main Street
Camden

Dentists and dental hygienists are volunteering their time to give kids free exams, cleaning, sealants and fluoride varnish. The program is funded by a grant given to Faxton St. Luke's Dental Health Center.

To pre-register a child for the event, call the Mohawk Valley Perinatal Network at 315-732-4657 ext 226 or toll-free at 1-877-267-6193 ext 226.

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