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- Drop-In Dental Screening in Brighton Can Help Families Identify Children’s Dental Needs -

(BRIGHTON) – There is a reason to smile for families in east Northumberland County who do not have dental insurance.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is organizing a free Drop-in Dental Screening session on Thursday, August 29, from 3 pm to 7 pm. The event takes place at the Health Unit office (35 Alice Street) in Brighton, and is open to children and teenagers 17 years of age and younger whose parents do not have dental insurance.

A Registered Dental Hygienist with the Health Unit will check children’s mouths and give advice on their dental needs. No appointment is necessary, but parents and caregivers are asked to bring their child’s health card.

Health Unit staff will also be on hand to provide information to eligible families about financial support programs that may be available to them to help pay for their child’s dental treatment.

“We encourage families who do not have dental insurance to drop in with their child for the dental screening,” says Kristina Nairn, a Determinants of Health Nurse with the HKPR District Health Unit. “It’s worth your time, as the screening can help assess your child’s dental needs, while giving you information on support programs that can cover some or all the costs of treatment.”

Healthy teeth and gums are very important for the overall wellbeing of children and teenagers. Says Nairn: “If left untreated, dental problems can cause considerable pain that affects a child’s eating habits, ability to learn in school, and overall growth and development.”

While the Health Unit provides dental screening in local elementary schools during the academic year, Nairn says organizing a similar event in the community in the summer allows for more access and interaction with families. “Parents can hear first-hand about their child’s dental needs,” she notes.

The Health Unit administers the Healthy Smiles Ontario (HSO) program and the Children in Need of Treatment (CINOT) program that pay for dental treatment and urgent dental care for children and teens who are 17 years of age and younger. Families can see if they qualify for funding through these programs by attending the dental screening event, or by calling the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577 or visiting www.hkpr.on.ca. Preventive services may also be available at the Health Unit for eligible children.

Families receiving Ontario Works benefits are asked to call 1-888-599-9399 to get basic dental care for their children. They do not have to be screened.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Kristina Nairn, Determinants of Health Nurse, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100, or toll-free: 1-866-888-4577.

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