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Just Kids Dental

Cody Havlick and Al Peterson of Auto Value in Two Harbors present a check for $2000 to Melissa Gens, Stacey Anderson and Laura Jackson of Just Kids Dental. Tammy Francois

Children in need of preventative dental care have a champion in Lake County. Six years ago, Stacey Anderson, a registered dental hygienist, started Just Kids Dental in Two Harbors. Since that time, the nonprofit organization has grown and serves children in three Minnesota counties and one in Wisconsin.

Stacey and her staff of registered dental hygienists and dental assistants provide preventive care to hundreds of children annually. Services include an oral evaluation, dental cleaning, fluoride treatment and molar sealants plus oral and nutrition health information. Kids also receive a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss to keep their pearly-whites looking and feeling good. Students in pain from dental problems or those in need of further care are connected with area dentists.

"Dental disease is the number one disease facing children today," Anderson said. "The demand [for care] was amazing last year."

Some families are working two or three jobs, but the jobs don't include dental insurance, she added. Kids whose families are uninsured or underinsured, or those enrolled in Medicaid are most likely to be in need of dental care.

All students receive an application in their back-to-school packets at the beginning of the year, but the forms are available at school throughout the year. Clinics are planned and care is delivered to kids right at school, which eliminates another barrier to care faced by some families -- transportation.

Communities and school administrators have sung JKD's praises. Last year Mayor Bruce Hagen of Superior kicked off a fund raising campaign by declaring Sept. 7 Just Kids Dental Day in his town.

That echoed a sentiment from Two Harbors Mayor Randy Bolen last year, who said: "At each school, students served by Just Kids Dental receive a positive and caring experience. Parents and school staff are invested in the program and have found it fulfils a need that is not addressed in any other way in our community. Just Kids Dental's work is especially important in these difficult economic times."

Anderson explained the cost economics of her facility's school-based program, saying for just $25 JKD can provide preventative care to a child.

"For every dollar spent on preventative care, $48 in long term tax-payer dollars is saved at emergency rooms," she said.

Parents, grandparents and caregivers of children from kindergarten through eighth grade are encouraged to look for the application forms from Just Kids Dental and complete and sign the, so that their children may be scheduled for a preventive care clinic. Parents will be notified when the dates for their schools have been scheduled.

Last week, Al Peterson, owner of Auto Value in Two Harbors, became JKD's first Two Harbors sponsor with a check for $2,000. Donations have also come from a range of other organizations and businesses. Anderson encourages individuals, organizations and businesses to go to JKD's website to find out how to donate.

For those who would like to have a little fun while donating, Engwall's Corn Maze in Hermantown will give a portion of its proceeds to JKD on Sept. 8-9. On Oct. 10 from 6-8 p.m. at the Superior Curling Club, pizza makers and premium beer purveyors will be competing at Sips and Slices. The public is invited to sip the beverages and sample the pizza to benefit Just Kids Dental.

JKD's website is at Visit and 'like' its Facebook page to keep up with announcements and events.