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  • Writer's pictureCarey Tate

John Abbott dental hygiene students collaborate with Gift from the Heart for oral care accessibility

Gift from the Heart, a non-profit organization promoting access to oral healthcare services, spent the day at John Abbott College on Saturday, November 26th. The students in John Abbott's dental hygiene program assisted dental hygienists, 54 volunteers, clinicians, and the reception staff in providing free oral healthcare services to over 35 patients who otherwise could not access care. The cost of each treatment would usually total 200 dollars each. Owner of Hygiène Dentaire West Island (HD West-Island), Tayyaba Fiaz, coordinated the event in collaboration with Francine Trudeau, co-chair of the John Abbott Dental Hygiene 3-year program.

The organization's mobile clinic was also on-site, which circulates to provide dental care to those who can otherwise not afford treatments, cleanings, and oral health products. Bev Woods, a dental hygienist, and Founder and President of Gift from the Heart, has found her calling to help others through the Gift from the Heart Outreach Mobile Community Cruiser. Currently stationed in Belleville, Ontario, the cruiser is on the road to better overall health as a refitted ambulance that is equipped to provide dental hygiene services.

From left to right: Laura Iorio (V.P., Gift from the Heart), Francis Scarpaleggia (MP, Lac-Saint-Louis), Tayyaba Fiaz (event organizer), Bev Woods (President, Gift from the Heart), and Francine Trudeau (Co-Chair, dental hygiene program at J.A.C).

Laura Iorio, the Gift from the Heart Operations Vice-President, re-stated how important oral hygiene is for overall health: "Many inflammatory diseases can be made worse when oral health is poor, and without preventative care, they may end up in the ER."

As of December 1st, the federal Liberal government will improve dental care accessibility for uninsured households that make under $90,000. Children under 12 will be the first group to benefit from this program before it is expanded to seniors and Canadians with disabilities next year, and other citizens in the third year.

To donate to Gift from the Heart, click here.

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