By Molly Daly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Academy of General Dentistry wrapped up its annual meeting on Sunday in Philadelphia. On Saturday, the AGD teamed up with Penn’s School of Dental Medicine to hold a community outreach project providing free oral care to 600 Philadelphians.

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“I don’t have insurance,” said Lila Tate, who was thrilled to take part. “I used to teach in the school system, but I have a small business. So I was told that this was a day when I could come over here, and that they would do excellent dentistry, and it would be free, and I couldn’t believe it.”

The free oral care program, in its third year, is the brainchild of Georgia doctor Carol Wooden and another dentist. Dr. Wooden says a lot of the patients hadn’t seen a dentist in years.

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“Whether it’s because of fear or whether it’s because of finances, or whatever the barrier is, they’re just not getting the care that they deserve,” Wooden said. “So we wanted to reach out and help them out a little bit. The unfortunate part is there’s a lot more out there for whatever those barriers are, they’re not getting the care either.”

Wooden says people neglect their teeth and gums at their own risk.

“Your oral health affects all of you,” she added. “It affects your total health. And it’s all just very important so your heart is healthy and the rest of you is healthy.”

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