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Free Dental Work, Puppy Love For Northwest Veterans This Week

File photo
Senior Airman Jeff Parkinson
U.S. Air Force
File photo

The “Mobile Mouth”, a 42-foot long mobile dentist’s office, will stop in Portland and Spokane this week as part of a nationwide tour to provide free dental care to veterans. 

“We often get veterans who have no dental insurance whatsoever and they’re having a significant crisis when it comes to their dental health,” said Cat Nichols, Washington’s director of Veteran Services in Spokane County. “The VA medical center doesn’t really provide any kind of dental services except oral surgery for health reasons.”

Veterans are only eligible for dental coverage from the federal Veterans Administration if they were a prisoner of war, 100 percent disabled or if they suffered a service-related mouth injury.

Four years ago, the national group Aspen Dental started the “ healthy mouth movement.” Since then, more than 17,000 veterans have received free dental care. 

Therapy dogs will also be on site for the 60 veterans who have made appointments when the “Mobile Mouth” stops in the Northwest this week. It will make 13 other stops across the country through mid-May.

Copyright 2018 Northwest News Network

Emily Schwing
Emily Schwing comes to the Inland Northwest by way of Alaska, where she covered social and environmental issues with an Arctic spin as well as natural resource development, wildlife management and Alaska Native issues for nearly a decade. Her work has been heard on National Public Radio’s programs like “Morning Edition” and “All things Considered.” She has also filed for Public Radio International’s “The World,” American Public Media’s “Marketplace,” and various programs produced by the BBC and the CBC. She has also filed stories for Scientific American, Al Jazeera America and Arctic Deeply.