• Kyodo

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Forty-two Japanese dentists held free clinics Thursday for some 600 residents of this city’s largest slum.

The group also held free clinics at a state-run shelter for the handicapped.

The Japanese dentists, along with local dentists from Mahidol University and Smitivej Hospital, will also treat 400 children and 200 adults in the Klongtoey slum.

About 70 percent of the children in the community are believed to suffer from tooth decay, said Prateep Ungsongtham Hata, founder of the nonprofit Duang Prateep Foundation that assists the community.

“Dental problems that have been ignored are a big concern for children in the slum. Parents are not aware that dental problems can affect one’s health in the long run,” she said.

The Japanese dentists are members of the Kanagawa Dental College Alumni Dental Volunteers, a nongovernmental organization that began offering free clinics in developing countries in 1982. They arrived in Bangkok on Wednesday.

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