'Grins on the Go' cleaning teeth at low-income schools

Posted at 4:40 PM, Aug 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-28 19:24:13-04

From the outside, it might look like an average van parked in the East Valley Middle School lot, but the unusual cargo it's carrying is helping local school children stay healthy one tooth at a time. 

"We pack up the vans, we have a dental chair we have a cart we have our tools we bring it into the school every morning," said community outreach program supervisor Cami Sindon. 

Delta Dental's 'Grins on the Go' program provides free dental work for kids at low-income schools. They have 200 schools in Idaho signed up. Already, they've seen 5,00 kids in 2018 and expect to see between 10,000  and 12,000 by the end of the school year.  

"We try to target Lower-income schools so we're hitting those kids that might not be able to go to the dentist," said Sindon. 

Students like seventh-grader Mackenzie Harms hate missing school and having all that work pile up. 

"I hate missing days of school because then I have to spend time making up work, and then doing that work, so it's just a ton of work," said Harms. 

Not to mention, the price for sealants can add up fast for those without insurance. 

"A sealant averages 40-50 dollars per sealant, and when we're at a middle school, we can place up to 16 sealants on a kiddo," said Sindon. 

The saved time and money means kids can spend the new school year completely focused on learning, and avoid the repercussions of dental decay. 

"So that's what we're trying to do is help these kids not get cavities so they're not missing school and they can concentrate on their school work and they're not in pain, they don't have toothaches," said Sindon.

'Grins on the Go' will be at East Valley Middle School for another two and a half weeks, and then it's off to help the next group of middle schoolers fight some cavities.