EDMONTON -- A local dental clinic offered free cleanings for children whose parents are facing financial strains.

Clean Smiles Dental Hygiene Clinic hosted a free hygiene day for children from four to 14yearsold on Friday whose parents cannot normally take their kids to the dentist because of financial pressures.

The clinic aims to host a free dental hygiene day once a month as a way to give back to Edmonton and support families who have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn.

Anila Irfan, a registered dental hygienist and owner of Clean Smiles Dental Hygiene Clinic, said in an interview with CTV News Edmonton there have been 20 appointments on Friday.

Irfan said many parents who participated in the free dental hygiene day have lost their jobs, no longer have medical benefits or insurance, and are low-income families.

There is now a waitlist for future free dental hygiene days.

“The day I launched it, I went home and cried because the amount of people calling us and requesting appointments…. I just felt helpless because I could not do anymore.

Anila Irfan

Registered dental hygienist and owner of Clean Smiles Dental Hygiene Clinic Anila Irfan (CTV News Edmonton).

The main goal Irfan said is to ensure that even as people are facing these economic challenges that their dental hygiene does not lapse.

“Our main goal is prevention,” she said. “We want to keep people out of dental problems and give them tools to keep their (dental hygiene) maintained.

“You want to have healthy teeth for overall health, to maintain your overall healthy body.”

Irfan added how it was always a dream of hers to be able to give back to her community that helped shape her.

“I wanted to do something from my heart to give back.

“I know that dentistry can be really expensive,” she said. “We want to give kids a head start.”

To request a free hygiene appointment, parents can visit their website or call the clinic.