PEORIA — Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, Peoria City/County Health Department and Illinois Central College will provide a free day of dental care for Illinois children age 5 and younger on July 28 in Peoria. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to make appointments by July 25.

Children will receive free preventive and diagnostic services, including cleanings, exams, fluoride treatments, sealants and X-rays. Preventive education and referrals for additional dental care will also be provided. The exam will satisfy the mandatory dental screening for kindergarten. Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation’s Tooth Wizard and PlaqueMan from the Land of Smiles oral health education program will interact with children and their caregivers, educating them about good oral health habits. Each child will also receive an oral health kit with floss, a toothbrush and toothpaste.

The event is part of Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation’s Dentist By 1 program, which aims to educate caregivers about the benefits of taking children to the dentist by age 1, as well as train dentists and oral health professionals to help expand access to care. Children in Illinois don’t see their family dentist on average until they are nearly 2½ years old.  Scheduling a dentist visit by age 1 allows the child and parent to establish a relationship with a dentist, which can help set the foundation for regular dental visits and oral health care habits.

“According to a recent statewide oral health assessment we conducted, about 22 percent of Illinois third-graders have tooth decay,” said Lora Vitek, director of philanthropy and community relations for Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation.

“Although preventable, tooth decay is one of the most prevalent diseases among children and can appear as soon as teeth emerge. Our Dentist By 1 program works to prevent and eliminate this disease by educating caregivers on the importance of good dental habits, encouraging age 1 dental visits and providing free dental care to young children.”

The free day of dental care will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Illinois Central College Dental Hygiene Clinic at 5407 N. University St. Dental visits without an appointment will be limited and available on a first come, first served basis.

Parents and caregivers can schedule an appointment by visiting dentistby1.com/Peoria, calling (630) 718-4844 or emailing JOMalley@deltadentalil.com.