Mobile dental clinic launches free appointments for young women in need
VICTORIA – A mobile dental clinic in Victoria is forming local partnerships to provide free teeth cleaning services to marginalized young women.
Wheely Clean has partnered with the Indigenous Women and Women of Color Support Network to secure free appointments for women under 19 and members of marginalized groups or visible minorities.
“Especially low-income racialized women, they don’t have the privilege of visiting a dental clinic and having their teeth checked,” said SNIWWOC, program manager Kaoruko Sasaki.
“We talked about the importance of our dental health. It’s basically related to our overall health, including our mental health.
On Sunday, the fully functioning mobile dental hygiene clinic was at the Punjabi Akali Sihk Temple on Grahm Street for its first six appointments, offering preventive oral hygiene care.
“If you haven’t been to the dentist for a very long time, it can be difficult to get back on your feet, whether you have anxiety or other obstacles,” said Danielle Ayotte, owner of Wheely Clean.
“You just have to bring people to the clinic, look in their mouths, see what is going on… the hope is that people will feel empowered in their oral health journey. “
Wheely Clean donates their time on-site, and the Sikh Temple covers the costs associated with cleaning and supplies, through Khalsa Aide.
“I would love to see a preventive oral health service covered by provincial or federal (governments), something inside that anyone can access – at the very least – with cleanings every year.” said Ayotte.
SNIWWOC and Wheely Clean have set up a free dental day each month until December.
The support network says it has seen an overwhelming response to the initiative and had to close applications, while also creating a waiting list.
Wheely Clean says he hopes he creates enough lasting partnerships to keep the initiative going.