One million down, two million to go for Oral Health America delivering a seal-of-approval one tooth at a time

Jan. 7, 2011
Oral Health America announces its challenge with its partners in charity -- the sealing of two million teeth in the coming decade.

What does the concept of “a million” mean to you? To Oral Health America (OHA), its supporters, and community-based sealant program partners, one million is just the beginning.

On Nov. 29, 2010, at the Greater New York Dental Meeting, OHA announced the fulfillment of an organizational promise to provide dental sealants for one million teeth for more than 225,000 at-risk children by 2010. With DENTSPLY International and program partners from New York University’s College of Dentistry and Philadelphia-based Kids Smiles, Inc. by her side, Beth Truett, president and CEO of Oral Health America, used the celebratory announcement to lay down the next challenge for the OHA and its partners in charity — the sealing of two million teeth in the coming decade.

“It’s fabulous to be celebrating the sealing of one million teeth,” said Mrs. Truett. “We made this commitment in 2000. We’ve now met this goal. We actually exceeded it by November 2010. Today we’re announcing a new, more ambitious goal, and that is to seal two million teeth, five hundred thousand children, in the next 10 years.”

OHA is on its way, having secured sealants for exactly 1,056,282 teeth and 305,411 children. Cheryl Janssen, executive director of Kids Smiles, Inc. and an OHA grantee and program partner, presented some facts that corroborated the success, in part, of OHA’s just-completed promise. “In 2001, when [Kids Smiles] started providing education and screenings and now preventive programs in Philadelphia-area schools, 59% of the children presented with decay. Today, in our same schools, our data show that (only) 19% of children present with decay. We have seen a decrease from 59% to 19%.”

At the event GNY event, DENTSPLY International’s president and CEO Bret Wise pledged his company’s support to the Seal Two Million Campaign through a $10,000 pledge. Over the past 55 years, DENTSPLY has provided more than $1 million and a significant amount of donated dental products in support of OHA’s programs. Together, DENTSPLY, 3M ESPE, Ivoclar Vivadent, Pulpdent Corporation, and Harry J. Bosworth Company have contributed more than one million dental sealants to help OHA keep its promise.

If you’re curious about how you can become involved with OHA, you can get to know the organization, close to 900 of its supporters, its mission, and volunteers while enjoying one of the premier events of Chicago Midwinter. The OHA Gala 2011 on February 23 at Chicago’s legendary Field Museum combines an evening of black tie elegance with an opportunity to learn more about the five key programs that make up the OHA mission: Smiles Across America®, Wisdom Tooth Project, Medical Dental Dialogues, Campaign for Oral Health Equity, and NSTEP®. E-mail [email protected] to reserve your tickets today, or call (312) 836-9900. For more information, visit, become a fan on Facebook, and follow OHA’s tweets at “smile4health.”

In the meantime, OHA is hoping to provide one more meaning to the concept of a million ... and that’s converting a “never in a million years” challenge into a “one in a million” triumph.