Toledo kids smiling over free dental care

Kids open up to free dental care.

Up to half of school-aged kids have tooth decay but many families cannot afford care.

Friday, several local dentists and dental schools teamed up to give free cleanings and care for national "Give Kids a Smile Day."

The cooperative effort included Owens Community College as well as Clay High School students getting some real-world experience at the Dental Center of Northwest Ohio.

Participants say this event is important because kids with tooth pain are likely to have trouble sleeping or concentrating in school.

"A lot of who are seemingly invisible who are trying to go to school and have difficulty concentrating simply because they're having tooth pain and they don't know how or are not able to get access to dental care," said Ted Beitelschees, DDS, Westgate Family Dental.

But the day was also important for those providing the care.

"It's actually really good because in school we kind of do the same old stuff for the same people and it's kind of good being in a working environment," said Clay High School senior Jesse Castilleja.