Making a Difference: One Smile at a Time

Posted at: 09/20/2013 12:36 PM
Updated at: 09/22/2013 10:45 PM
By: Brittany Falkers

A healthy smile give kids more than just a confidence boost.  Proper dental hygiene can prompt life-long healthy habits and prevent expensive and painful cavities.  However, many Northland Kids are not getting to the dentist.

That's why Two Harbors-based non-profit Just Kids Dental (JKD) are stepping in to make sure all kids have the tools they need for oral health.  Niki Johnson is an assistant with JKD and says the need for dental services is huge in the Northland.

"There's a lot of under-served children out there," Johnson said.  "A lot of people don't have the dental insurance or maybe their parents can't get their kids to the dental office."

There are many different factors keeping kids out of the dentist chair, but JKD aims to make dental care accessible to everyone who needs it.  The highly trained JKD team travels to schools in northern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin to deliver basic oral care to kids who won't otherwise get it.

"We just try to provide any of those preventative services that we can to the kids so we can reduce the amount of carries or cavities that they get," Johnson said.  "Kids do get a lot of cavities and that's a really big issues because kids do end up missing school for it."

It's a win-win for the JKD team and for the kids.  "It's awesome to see that I'm making an impact on them and I'm basically teaching them what they need to know for the rest of their lives to have those healthy teeth," Johnson said.

Alyssa Kobie is a fifth grader at Northern Lights Elementary in Superior.  She says she's learned a lot about keeping her teeth healthy from JKD and really likes that they come to her school.

"It's kind of awesome, so then we don't have to drive," Kobie said.  "It's good to have it here at school."

The process works a lot like a typical dentists office, with a little extra education. "While we wait, we watch little movies about dinosaurs and their teeth.  And then we get a check up.  Then before we leave, we usually get a prize," Kobie said.

The kids then get a goodie bag filled with all the dental health necessities so they can continue to practice good oral hygiene at home.  JKD's mission is to make sure everyone can show off those pearly whites, no matter who you are, because everyone deserves a healthy smile.

Just Kids Dental is a non-profit and relies on donations to do all their hard work.  You can help them provide care to kids in Douglas County with a beer and pizza tasting. 

On Wednesday, October 2, join JKD for their annual Sips and Slices fundraiser.  This event is for folks 21-year-old and up.  It's happening at the Superior Curling Club and runs from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 bucks at the door and proceeds benefit children served by JKD in Superior, Maple and Solon Springs.

For more information on Just Kids Dental CLICK HERE.