Goska and Michal Nowak were looking for a way to give back to their community and connected with the Brenda Strafford Center to offer free dental care. Both operate Sanitas Dental. Goska is a dentist and Michal takes care of the business side.
“We know that in times of hardship, women and children suffer a lot,” Goska said. “The mental struggles are on the rise, the domestic violence is on the rise, so I thought (about) what I do every day, how I can reach out and help those women and children out there.”
Michal said that in December they donated 200 toothbrushes, dental floss and toothpaste to the centre.
“There are so many women who are struggling so much that if we could lift their spirits and at the same time provide them with some basic oral health needs, it warms my heart,” he said. declared.
This is the first time Sanitas has offered this service and staff hope to see 10 patients in the office for the one-day blitz. They start with assessments and cleaning and go from there.
“I’m sure we’re going to see a lot of gum inflammation, gum infections, cavities,” Goska said. “Maybe some dental infections too, so probably an array of issues.”
Linda McLean is the executive director of the 85-room Brenda Strafford Center for women and their children. It enables at-risk individuals who have experienced family violence to live safely and successfully in the community. McLean said customers had to fill out forms about their dental health and needs
“I think for a lot of them it’s almost unbelievable, they were a little worried their bill was coming,” McLean said. “They were nervous about going to the dates because they’re not quite sure there won’t be a catch, so it’s a big deal because it’s unusual , it is difficult to obtain accessible and free dental care.”
McLean said dental care is not a priority for the women at the center and many have never even been to a dentist, especially their children.
“Caries at a young age can interfere with all kinds of development including speech, learning, so that’s super important,” she said. “It’s a gift because it’s a luxury and without the contributions of philanthropic people like these Sanitas Dental healthcare professionals, they wouldn’t have access to it.”
Goska said dental health is important because it affects overall health and contributes to the strength of the immune system.
“I’ve been through hardship myself, I’m an immigrant so I know what hard times are like and I think if you do that then you have compassion and an understanding of what people are going through” , said Goska. “And women, because they’re so vulnerable, are more likely to open up to a woman and I think we can create a safe and comfortable environment for them to come.”
Goska hopes the work she does will bring women a sense of dignity that they already had, but perhaps lost in recent years.