Open wide: Free clinic in Orange Park teaches children about dental health

Dental students host event today as part of “Give Kids A Smile” program

JACKSONVILLE, Fla – Children should go to the dentist by their first birthday, but a new survey found only 1 in 4 parents is following that recommendation.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry said that can put children’s teeth at risk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 5 children ages 5 to 11 and 1 in 7 kids ages 12 to 19 have at least one untreated decayed tooth. Those numbers double for kids in under-served communities.

“It’s important that they are aware of what’s the proper thing to eat so they are avoiding cavities and able to maintain healthy gums and keep their teeth,” said Candi Kilgore, Dental Assistant Program Director at Fortis College in Orange Park.

The college is hosting an event Thursday afternoon to help young children learn the importance of taking care of their teeth.

The college is partnering with the American Dental Association for its annual "Give Kids A Smile" program. Dental instructors and students will show children brushing techniques, nutrition for healthy teeth, and proper dental hygiene.

The event runs from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Fortis College-Orange Park. Guests can participate in several activities, including games and giveaways.

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