PALM DESERT - Dozens of people dressed up like Santa but it wasn't to hand out presents to kids. Families like Mary Maloney and her son Paul will benefit from the walk which will help people with developmental disabilities get dental care.
"They (the dentists) have motivated him to take care of his teeth which before it was mother prodding him all the time so this has worked out beautifully and now he's more aware,” says Mary Maloney.
"I brush my teeth every day. That's how I keep them clean,” says one walker.
Organizers of the event, which benefits We Care Dental Center in Rancho Mirage, say people with Down Syndrome and other developmental issues have one of the biggest problems when it comes to dental health. "Their oral hygiene habits are very, very poor. We have had clients come in that haven't brushed their teeth in years or have lost all of their teeth,” says organizer of the event Marianne Benson.
Money raised will also benefit veterans and seniors on a fixed income. "We have a very affordable fee schedule and we are a major Medical, Dentical provider and that's important because dentists don't take Medical but we do,” says Benson.
Other walkers now realize how important it is to brush and get regular cleanings at the dentist. "It's about our health, our teeth, how to be clean and don't get anymore cavities,” says Paul Maloney.
"What we're trying to do is save whatever we can whether it's root canals, partials, full dentures,” says Benson.
It's an event that gives an unknown issue a voice and it doesn’t hurt to have a little fun while doing it. "If we can just keep him away from the soft drinks and the donuts, we'll be ok,” says Mary Maloney.