Bev Woods, BSc, RDH

Bev Woods has been a Registered Dental Hygienist for over 34 years. Over the years, she has served as President and Director of the Ontario Dental Hygienists Association (ODHA) and Executive Council Member for the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario (CDHO).  She was instrumental in the planning and implementation of the Dental Hygiene Program for Maxwell College, Belleville, Ontario and went on to hold the position of Dental Hygiene Director. She opened her Dental Hygiene office in Trenton, Ontario as a location for her community to receive free care. The Gift from the Heart charity was born from her passion to give back to those experiencing barriers accessing preventative oral healthcare.
Her husband’s Military career took them outside Canada for a few years, where Bev volunteered with “Friends of the Fallen” and escorted family members out to the flight line to welcome home their fallen loved one as part of the “dignified transfer” USA military service.
When she returned home to Brighton, Ontario, Bev worked as a dental hygienist at the Port Hope Northumberland Community Health Centre and then went on to hold the Dental Program Manager position. Bev welcomed the opportunity to build a program to help provide much needed oral health care to those who were struggling financially.
She retired from Hasting Prince Edward Public Health in December 2020 and now devote 100% of her time to the Gift from the Heart organization.
In 2019, Bev was honoured with the L'Oreal Women of Worth Award in Canada which confirmed that we are all worth it.
Bev started her career as a Dental Hygienist in the 1980's, primarily on Military bases. She experienced lots of travel.
Bev has a passion for looking after people, to offer a hand and help.
In 2007 when the government allowed Hygienist to have their own business, separate from Dentists, she opened a clinic in Trenton by the Canex. In 2008 she started the Gift from the Heart offering free oral hygiene and instruction for those who can't afford it. She obtained charitable status in 2019.
She had a few years with her husband at the Dover Air Force base in the USA.
It was hard to fund raise in 2020.
Gift from the Heart is essentially about preventative oral health care (not the expensive part). They can do oral cancer screening and thus save lives. She says any irritant in the mouth that lasts more than 2 weeks, see a doctor.
The mouth is a huge entry point for many ills. Cleaning teeth leads to whole body health.
She has been able to get Northumberland County to give her an ambulance which she has outfitted for oral cleaning and screenings. She takes this to many events and places from food banks and shelters. She travels from Durham Region to Kingston, Bancroft to the County. Her biggest task is getting the word out and getting people comfortable to come into the ambulance and let her do an oral screening. She is out at venues about three days a week.
She has a volunteer board. No paid positions. She does everything.
Many dental offices won't take patients who can't pay. Many are owned by big corporations and they are all about the money. Hard to get dental offices to help and volunteer.
Hospitals don't extract teeth anymore, so emergency rooms at hospitals don't address the cause but only symptoms when teeth related issues are cause.
She has organized a Free Day of dental care in Belleville September 11 where a local dentist has offered up his office. She has volunteers to help for the day.
PPE is expensive. She works hard to get products donated.
She has plans for a second vehicle, a 24 foot car loader that would be a full dental facility on wheels. She has a prototype and cost estimate of $250,000. She wants this for 2022.
The need is out there. We can't judge people's past, but take them where they are now.