The American Dental Association’s (ADA) Give Kids A Smile® program, Henry Schein, Inc., 3M ESPE Dental and NASCAR star Greg Biffle teamed up to deliver miles of smiles Friday at Richmond International Raceway. &n
The American Dental Association’s (ADA) Give Kids A Smile® program, Henry Schein, Inc., 3M ESPE Dental and NASCAR star Greg Biffle teamed up to deliver miles of smiles Friday at Richmond International Raceway.
The groups hosted a children’s dental screening in the track’s Midway, with volunteer dentists and other dental team members giving underserved children free dental evaluations, fluoride treatments and dental sealants, if needed.
Approximately 400 children were expected to be treated during the all-day event, which is designed to put youngsters on the fast track to good oral health. Saturday’s portion of the program includes fun activities and education about healthy dental habits.
Biffle’s morning visit kicked off Friday’s “Give Kids A Smile” clinic. He spoke to the volunteers, spent time with young patients and addressed media members.
“I got involved through 3M,” Biffle said. “That’s a big part of their business, health care and dental. So that’s what really got us involved with the American Dental Association’s Give Kids A Smile program and Henry Schein. I’ve volunteered my time to come do these programs and be the face of the program.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, tooth decay affects some 16 million children in the United States, more than any other chronic infectious disease, including asthma, early-childhood obesity and diabetes. Untreated tooth decay causes pain and infections that may lead to problems in eating, speaking, playing and learning.
Dr. Robert Faiella, ADA President Elect, with kids who participated in the screening.
Per the Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General, children living in poverty suffer twice the tooth decay as their more affluent peers, and their disease is more likely to go untreated. A disproportionate share of tooth decay, approximately 80 percent, is found in 25 percent of children, according to the National Institutes of Health.
“Give Kids A Smile” targets those who might not have access to proper dental care. “It’s a pretty neat program,” said Biffle, noting that Friday’s event marked the second consecutive year that the groups involved with “Give Kids A Smile” have conducted an at-track clinic. The first occurred last October, at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Drawing parents’ attention to their children’s dental health is equally important. Biffle and his wife, Nicole, are parents of a nine-month daughter, Emma, and want other parents to understand the magnitude of good oral health.
“There are millions and millions of kids that don’t get the proper dental care, whether it be funding or insurance or just not getting to the dentist,” Biffle said. “So this is important to bring awareness – not only to the kids but to the parents – about it.”
Biffle – the current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ standings leader – will drive the No. 16 Give Kids A Smile Ford Fusion in Saturday’s race. He also will help promote good dental health for children through 2012 and support clinics providing dental care for children in need.
Greg Biffle and the Toothfairy pose with kids who came to participate in the screening.
The event is part of the yearlong celebration of the Give Kids A Smile program’s 10th anniversary in 2012. Fans can follow Give Kids A Smile on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GiveKidsASmile.
The yearlong education program includes a national public service announcement featuring Greg Biffle and ongoing outreach to parents and children through dental offices, community events and media. Throughout the year, there will be more than 1,600 Give Kids A Smile events around the country providing dental services to more than 400,000 underserved children.
“The Give Kids A Smile program showcases the volunteerism of the dental community and the wonderful, dedicated dentists and dental team members who made this day possible,” said Dr. Robert Faiella, President-Elect, American Dental Association. “It was a well-organized event and we’re grateful for the sponsors – 3M ESPE, the ADA, the ADA Foundation, Henry Schein, Virginia Dental Association –for their support.
“Programs like Give Kids A Smile highlight the need in this country for addressing the devastating health problems of those in need,” noted Dr. Faiella. “Hopefully events like these help bring attention and funding for public health programs that deliver the care that they need.”
Dr. Faiella added that bringing the Give Kids A Smile program to the track gets the attention of people when they wouldn’t be thinking about oral health. “It garnered a lot of focus for a great cause,” he said.
In 2011, 3M ESPE Dental, the American Dental Association and Henry Schein joined forces with Greg Biffle and 3M Racing to take the Give Kids A Smile program to the NASCAR audience. Together, they held an oral health care education event during NASCAR SpeedFest at Charlotte Motor Speedway last March, followed by an education and screening program that screened nearly 175 children and handed out oral health product and instruction kits to approximately 2,000 children during the Bank of America 500 weekend at Charlotte in October.
Stanley M. Bergman, chairman and CEO for Henry Schein, the largest provider of health care products and services to office-based dental, medical and animal health practitioners adds, “Our team of participating sponsors is focused on winning the race to increase access to oral health care for children. Leveraging the power of NASCAR and the popularity of Greg Biffle provides special opportunities to inform a new audience about the importance of oral health. The success of these events illustrates the power of the public-private partnership – the key to the success of Henry Schein Cares, our global social responsibility program. Together, we can make a powerful impact in improving access to care for underserved communities.”
“3M ESPE Dental is proud to partner with these esteemed peers to provide dental care to children who may not otherwise receive this treatment,” said John Stefanick, director, Industry & Professional Relations of 3M ESPE, the manufacturer and marketer of more than 2,000 dental products.
Now in its 10th year, “Give Kids A Smile Day” is the ADA’s signature access to care program where dentists and their dental teams provide free oral health care services to children from underserved communities across the country. This year alone, more than 10,000 dentists nationwide will provide free oral health care through the Give Kids A Smile program. Henry Schein’s U.S. dental business, Henry Schein Dental, has served as the exclusive professional product sponsor for “Give Kids A Smile Day” since the program’s inception. Steve Kess, Henry Schein’s Vice President of Global Professional Relations, serves as chair of the ADA Give Kids A Smile National Advisory Committee.
GKAS Nascar - Henry Schein Dental
to donate and order a commemorative No. 16 car which has custom replica graphics and a commemorative plaque stand. Proceeds benefit the Give Kids A Smile nationwide program expansion activities to help children in need of dental care.