Thousands of underserved children received free oral health services at the inaugural Give Kids a SmileSM Day, an annual one-day initiative from the American Dental Association (ADA) that provides free educational, preventive and restorative services to children from low-income families. This year's event took place across the country on February 21, 2003, and involved more than 4,000 volunteer programs.
Sullivan-Schein Dental, a division of Henry Schein, Inc. (Nasdaq: HSIC), served as exclusive distributor of professional products for Give Kids a Smile, marking the first time the ADA teamed with a private company to provide professional products to support voluntary dental services at the national level. Sullivan-Schein Dental and its participating vendors coordinated the flow of free supplies to 40 major dental clinics that were selected by the ADA. Each clinic treated between 200 and 300 children. The contributions of Sullivan-Schein Dental and its vendor partners enabled participating dentists to provide free oral health care and services to underserved children.
"Give Kids a Smile is different from other outreach programs because it goes beyond screening. The program ensures that underserved children receive proper treatment," said Stanley M. Bergman, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Henry Schein. "This unique community service initiative taps into the true spirit of caregiving, and is no doubt responsible for the tremendous outpouring of volunteers from dentists and dental auxiliaries, as well as the dental industry. We are grateful for the overwhelming response to Give Kids a Smile in its first years, and look forward to continuing our involvement with the program in the future."
Give Kids a Smile Vendor Sponsors
Forty-three Sullivan-Schein Dental vendors generously donated their professional products to support Give Kids a Smile programs. Below is the list of participating companies:
All Dental Prodx
Pelton & Crane
About Give Kids a Smile
The ADA created Give Kids a Smile as an annual vehicle to focus national attention on what the U.S. Surgeon General has called a "silent epidemic" of oral disease affecting children from low-income families, and to build support for public and private solutions that will help these children get regular oral health care. As noted in the Surgeon General's 2000 report, Oral Health in America, dental decay is the most common disease affecting U.S. children, occurring at five times the rate of asthma and seven times that of hay fever. Millions of children suffer from untreated, easily preventable oral diseases that affect overall health, including speech, eating patterns and the ability to concentrate in school.
On Give Kids a Smile Day, dental teams around the country provided a range of dental services and educational programs for underserved children, while highlighting for policy makers the ongoing challenges that low-income and disabled children face in accessing dental care. Events included in-school brushing demonstrations, community screening and treatment programs, and free, private dental care.
"With Give Kids a Smile, we're trying to effect real change in the state of oral health in America by calling attention to the extent of untreated dental disease and the need to improve access to dental care," said ADA President T. Howard Jones, DMD. "This program provides an effective platform for advocating common-sense, market-based solutions to local access problems.
Having Sullivan-Schein Dental and its vendor partners involved has been integral to the success of the campaign, and their contributions have gone a long way toward improving the oral health of thousands of underserved children in the United States."