ADA Celebrates 20th Annual Give Kids A Smile Program with Exclusive Product Sponsors

More Than 7 Million Underserved Children Have Received Free Oral Health Education and Services, and $20 Million in Oral Care Products Have Been Donated by Supplier Partners
Posted: February 11, 2022
Edited by Dentaltown staff

MELVILLE, N.Y.—The American Dental Association is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Give Kids A Smile (GKAS) program, which has provided free oral health care education and services to more than seven million underserved children in the U.S. The program is made possible thanks to the thousands of dental professionals who have volunteered their time to deliver this care. To watch a video highlighting this milestone, click here.

In 2022, nearly 1,000 GKAS events are scheduled to take place throughout the U.S., and it is estimated that 300,000 underserved children will receive free oral health education and preventive and restorative services, such as cleanings and fillings. These services will be provided by more than 20,000 dental team volunteers, including approximately 5,000 dentists, using supplies from 3,200 kits of essential oral health care products donated by Henry Schein, Colgate-Palmolive and its supplier partners. Henry Schein has served as the exclusive professional product sponsor since the program’s inception and Colgate-Palmolive has served as the exclusive sponsor of health and hygiene consumer products since 2007.

“What began as a grassroots effort has become a national movement to ensure access to quality health care for all children,” said Dr. Cesar R. Sabates, president of the American Dental Association. “The success of GKAS would not be possible without the nearly 37,000 dental professionals who volunteer at local events each year in addition to national sponsors, Henry Schein and Colgate, and long-time supporters like the ADA Foundation. My sincere appreciation and thanks to all of you who have been a part of the program, some from the very first day. We are all involved for the right reason—to Give Kids A Smile and help children in need.”

Over the years, Henry Schein’s support has included donations from its supplier partners, which have contributed to the $20 million in oral health care products made available to the program and thousands of hours preparing and sending more than 40,000 dental kits that helped ensure volunteers had the supplies they needed to deliver much-needed oral health care.

“Henry Schein is pleased to be a part of Give Kids A Smile’s evolution and its long-term success since the program’s inception, alongside our industry partners who provide the supplies and products to help dentists and their teams deliver quality care,” said AJ Caffentzis, president, U.S. Dental Distribution, Henry Schein. “The program exemplifies our commitment to the profession’s ideals, enhancing oral health literacy and expanding access to care to those who need it most. Congratulations and thank you to the American Dental Association for your leadership, our supplier partners for their collaboration, and all the dental volunteers, dental school faculty, staff, and students who have donated their time and talents to make GKAS the success it is today—one of the largest, charitable dental health programs in the country.”

In addition to supporting GKAS, Colgate-Palmolive promotes health equity and health and wellbeing among underserved children and their families through its Bright Smiles, Bright Futures initiative. Established in 1991, the initiative leads global social impact efforts that empower children and families to achieve healthy and bright futures and has reached more than 1.4 billion children in more than 100 countries across the world.

“Colgate-Palmolive is proud to be a long-time supporter of the Give Kids A Smile program and promote oral health literacy, which is foundational for children’s overall health and well-being,” said Dr. Barbara Shearer, Worldwide Director, Professional Strategy and Innovation, Colgate-Palmolive and Chair, Give Kids A Smile National Advisory Committee. “As the worldwide leader in oral care, Colgate is on a mission to empower people to Know Your OQ—your oral health quotient—and for people to understand that your healthier future starts with oral health.”

Supplier partners that are supporting the 2022 Give Kids A Smile program through product donations also include 3M, Centrix, Dash Medical, Dentsply Sirona, DMG America, Dukal Corporation, Medicom, PacDent, Premier, Richmond, Sempermed USA, Sunstar, TIDI Products and WaterPik.

For more information on GKAS, visit ada.org/gkas.

Click here to view the GKAS 20th Anniversary Gratitude Report.
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