MELVILLE, New York--Henry Schein, a provider of health-care products and services to office-based dental, medical, and animal health practitioners, and its supplier partners have again joined with the ADA, Colgate-Palmolive, and DEXIS to sponsor and celebrate Give Kids A Smile Day.
GKAS Day is always, the first Friday of February. The ADA launched the Give Kids A Smile program in 2003 as a way for dentists to reach out to communities to provide oral health services to underserved children and raise awareness of the critical need for enhanced access to oral health care for children.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25% of children and adolescents living in poverty have untreated tooth decay. It is the single most chronic childhood disease in this country, and while wholly preventable, tooth decay is on the rise among our youngest and poorest citizens.
In addition to the pain, difficulty eating, speaking and the excessive costs associated with emergency service that results from neglected oral health care, the CDC estimates that 51 million school hours are lost each year due to untreated tooth decay.
Thanks to the volunteer efforts of dentists and dental team members, annual donations of dental supplies valued at more than $1 million from Henry Schein and its supplier partners, and the partnership of Colgate-Palmolive and DEXIS, Give Kids A Smile Day is now in its 11th year.
As the ADA's signature access to care program, approximately five million children have received free oral services by almost half a million volunteers since Give Kids A Smile's inception. In 2013 alone, Give Kids A Smile will bring approximately 40,000 dental team volunteers, including more than 10,000 dentists, together with more than 450,000 underserved children at more than 1,700 events across the country for free oral health screenings, education and treatment.
Give Kids A Smile Day has expanded to include events throughout the year and across the country, including at such high-profile settings as NASCAR raceways.
"As a long-time supporter of the Give Kids A Smile program through our global social responsibility program, Henry Schein Cares, we are very proud to once again be a private sector leader at the forefront of this important nationwide initiative working to expand access to and awareness of the critical need for children's oral health care," said Stanley M. Bergman, chairman and chief executive officer of Henry Schein.
"Even as new U.S. health care regulations address increased access to pediatric oral health care, particularly for our poorest citizens, we remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting Give Kids A Smile, whose message of the importance of children's oral health care remains as imperative today as it ever has been. Dental disease is entirely preventable, but left untreated, the costs--both financial and health related--are untenable."
With the support of 30 supplier partners, Henry Schein--which also serves on the Give Kids A Smile National Advisory Committee--will provide 3,000 oral health care screening and prevention kits to the program. Each will contain supplies to serve 50 children. Since the program's inception, Henry Schein and its supplier partners have donated products and services valued at more than $12 million to the Give Kids A Smile program.
"The ADA is grateful for the long-standing partnership of Henry Schein and its supplier partners for their important contributions to enhancing access to oral health care for millions of children over the past 11 years through the Give Kids A Smile program," said Dr. Robert A. Faiella, president of the ADA.
"The power of the partnership between the ADA, our committed dental professionals, and industry partners like Henry Schein will be the key to realizing our shared vision of eliminating cavities in all U.S. five-year-olds by 2020."
The 2013 national celebration of Give Kids A Smile Day is being held in Louisville( Ky.) in collaboration with Smile Kentucky!, a signature Give Kids A Smile program with more than 150 participating local agencies. Staffed by approximately 200 dental student volunteers, 40 dentist volunteers and 100 other community volunteers, more than 4,000 children at 24 local schools have already been pre-screened.
In all, approximately 300 children will receive comprehensive dental care at the University of Louisville in celebration of Give Kids A Smile Day.
Henry Schein Supplier Partners supporting the 2013 "Give Kids A Smile" Program through product donations, include:
Premier Dental Products Company