This is the eleventh year that Gift from the Heart will provide no cost dental hygiene services to those in need.
Lori Lawrence, Registered Dental Hygienist, and proud owner of the little blue house on James St in Smiths Falls, addressed council Monday amidst honking, hollering and dog barking. She came to speak about Saturday, April 6, “a day where doors open across Canada” from Newfoundland to Victoria, where dental hygienists provide free services to those who can’t afford it.
“We’re not very vocal,” Lawrence said, ”but we want to promote our event and what we do.” It’s a day, she added, when volunteers from Ottawa, Merrickville, Perth and from across the river in Quebec “come together for a private cause.
“We know OHIP doesn’t provide coverage for oral health, and a lot of people can’t afford dentistry.”
Lawrence said she, in her practice, hears stories all the time from seniors, moms and dads, who bring their children but can’t afford the service themselves. “We hear them all year long” — from youth, young people who make minimum wage, or are paying high rent.
Lawrence said the day is “growing” every year, and having a huge impact. At the moment there are only two communities that proclaim Gift from the Heart day — Brockville and Smiths Falls. She added, with a certain glee, that Smiths Falls did it first.
The program is mostly for adults. “They can’t access insurance at all.”
Lawrence also said they collect stats and submit them to Health Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Health. “As soon as some doctor admits there’s a correlation between infection in the mouth and the bloodstream then maybe people will start listening,” she said commenting about no OHIP coverage for oral health.
Mayor Pankow proclaimed Saturday, April 6 as Gift from the Heart day in Smiths Falls.