March 9, 2011
SpeedFest will teach children how to improve their oral health and score free oral health kits.

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina--The Charlotte Motor Speedway may not seem a likely spot to think about oral health, but younger NASCAR fans at the March 12, 2011, SpeedFest will learn how to improve their oral health and score free oral health kits.

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SpeedFest is an appreciation day for NASCAR fans and organizers expect approximately 7,000 area children to enjoy the festivities.

“We salute 3M ESPE Dental and Henry Schein Cares for their commitment to educating children about oral health. Tooth decay is one of the most prominent childhood illnesses, and education about oral health should start at a young age,” said Dr. Raymond Gist, president of the American Dental Association.

“In addition to educating children at SpeedFest, we are looking forward to October when we will help volunteer dentists treat children from low-income families,” said John Stefanick, director, industry and professional relations of 3M ESPE Dental, the manufacturer and marketer of more than 2,000 dental products.

“We will literally give a smile to thousands of children from Charlotte and surrounding areas.”

Volunteer dentists will give underserved children Oct. 15, 2011, free dental evaluations, fluoride treatments, and dental sealants at the Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Kid Zone. Organizers 3M ESPE Dental and Henry Schein Cares will sponsor a tent for volunteer dentists and other dental team volunteers to provide the free services and educate children about good oral health habits. Children will receive digital X-rays embedded in a wristband as their badge of honor for participating.

“Through Henry Schein Cares, our global corporate social responsibility program, we are committed to increasing access to care for underserved people worldwide,” said Tim Sullivan, president of Henry Schein Dental, the company’s U.S. dental business. “It is essential to provide proper oral health care to children, and we are pleased to partner with the ADA and 3M ESPE as we capitalize on the popularity of NASCAR to address this goal.”

The SpeedFest kits include a card with oral health tips, along with a toothbrush, toothpaste, and Henry Schein dental floss. During the racing season, NASCAR fans can cheer on driver #16 Greg Biffle, whose 3M car and uniform also will sport the Give Kids A Smile, 3M, and Henry Schein Cares logos.

Give Kids A Smile is an ADA initiative in which dentists and their dental teams provide free oral health-care services to children from low-income families across the country. Now in its ninth year, more than 12,000 dentists nationwide are expected to provide free oral health care to almost 400,000 underserved children.

Tooth decay affects more than 25% of U.S children 2 to 5 years old and 50% who are 12 to 15 years old. Yet most state Medicaid budgets allocate 2% or less for dental services.

Volunteer work by dentists and their staffs help to fill the gap, but the ADA continues to advocate for long-term health-care policy solutions.

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