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ADA News Convention Daily

Healthy smiles for 15 years with GKAS

October 18, 2017

By Kelly Soderlund


Give Kids A Smile celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2017 and because of the program, millions of children nationwide have been smiling brighter.

GKAS is celebrated nationally on the first Friday in February to coincide with National Children's Dental Health Month, but more than 1,300 GKAS events are held throughout the year around the country, providing dental services to more than 300,000 underserved children.

"Thank you to everyone who has given their time and talents to help kids in need in their community through Give Kids A Smile," said Dr. Bill Calnon, ADA Foundation president. "We're all involved for the right reason — to make sure that every child has a healthy smile."

Dentists and dental team members can learn more about Give Kids A Smile Thursday-Saturday at the ADA Foundation Booth 1919 in the Exhibit Hall near the ADA Member Center. From Thursday-Sunday, the Foundation also has booths at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, Imperial Foyer, near the House of Delegates registration. On Friday and Monday during the House of Delegates meetings, the booth is located in the Georgia World Congress Center in the Thomas Murphy Ballroom Foyer. Those who make a donation will receive an ADA Foundation donor lapel pin.

The GKAS program began in 2002 in St. Louis, and the ADA launched the program nationally in 2003 as a way for dentists to join with others in the community to provide dental services to underserved children. More than 5.5 million underserved children have received free oral health services since the program's inception. These free services are provided during 1,300 GKAS events across the country each year by more than 30,000 volunteers, including 10,000 dentists.

GKAS events are intended to be touch points for children who do not receive dental care, for whatever reason. The ultimate goal for a GKAS program is to help establish dental homes for these children, according to the Foundation website.

Give Kids A Smile would not be possible without the support of corporate sponsors over the past 15 years. Henry Schein Dental has served as the exclusive professional product sponsor of GKAS since the national inception in 2003. In 2017, through Henry Schein Cares Foundation's in-kind donation program, Henry Schein and its supplier partners donated products and services valued at approximately $1.4 million to the GKAS program.

Colgate has donated over $900,000 to the GKAS program since 2008, as well as substantial in-kind donations throughout the years. In 2017, Colage contributed 300,000 sets of toothbrushes and toothpaste to the program. Since the inception of the GKAS program, DEXIS/KaVo Kerr has provided the use of X-ray systems and personnel to assist in taking radiographs during GKAS events.

CareCredit is the founding donor of the ADA Foundation's GKAS Fund and has contributed financial donations annually since 2007, reaching a total of more than $1 million dollars in 2017.

In 2017 3M donated 3,000 introductory sealant kits to GKAS, helping volunteers place more than 400,000 sealants on underserved kids' teeth. Hu-Friedy has co-sponsored the GKAS Community Leadership Development Institute since 2011. The GKAS Institute offers the opportunity for GKAS program coordinators across the U.S. to attend an in-person training session in St. Louis, where GKAS began.

Other sponsors over the past 15 years include:

  • Academy of General Dentistry.
  • Acteon.
  • Aetna Foundation.
  • Air Techniques. Inc.
  • Alliance of American Dental Association.
  • Alpha Epsilon Delta.
  • American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry/Healthy Smiles Healthy Children.
  • American Academy of Periodontology.
  • American Association of Orthodontists.
  • American College of Prosthodontists.
  • American Dental Association.
  • American Dental Education Association.
  • American Dental Political Action Committee.
  • American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
  • Ansell Healthcare.
  • Association of State & Territorial Dental Directors.
  • AXA Equitable.
  • Axis Dental.
  • Bank of America Charitable Foundation.
  • Biotrol International.
  • Cadbury Schweppes Americas.
  • California Dental Association.
  • Centrix.
  • Childrens' Dental Health Project.
  • Church & Dwight Company, Inc.
  • CIGNA Foundation.
  • Coltene Whaledent.
  • CompBenefits Texas QI Program.
  • Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC.
  • Cranberry USA.
  • Crosstex International.
  • DASH.
  • Delmar Baptist Church.
  • Delta Dental of VA.
  • Dental Disposables Int'l.
  • Dental EZ Group.
  • Dental Trade Alliance/DTA Foundation.
  • DenTek Oral Care, Inc.
  • DENTSPLY Sirona.
  • DMG America.
  • Dukal Corp.
  • Dux Dental.
  • Edwardan Foundation.
  • Flow X-Ray.
  • Foremost Dental Manufacturing, Inc.
  • Friendship Village.
  • GC America.
  • Gendex.
  • Gideon Services LLC.
  • Glidewell Laboratories, Inc.
  • Great-West Life and Annuity Insurance Co.
  • Harry J Bosworth.
  • HCI - EBS. Inc.
  • Imaging Sciences International, LLC.
  • Ivoclar Vivadent.
  • J&J Instruments.
  • Johnson & Johnson.
  • Kentucky Dental Association.
  • Kimberly-Clark Corporation.
  • Kuraray America.
  • Lanmark Group.
  • L&R Manufacturing.
  • LOOK/Surgical Specialties.
  • Massachusetts Dental Society.
  • Medicom.
  • MEMBERS GIVE.
  • Miccosukee Corporate.
  • Michigan Dental Association.
  • Microflex.
  • Miraculous Zine.
  • Miltex/Integra Miltex.
  • Mydent Corp.
  • Nassau County Dental Society.
  • Net32, Inc.
  • New Jersey Dental Association.
  • New York State Dental Association/NYSDAF.
  • NextLevel Group.
  • Nurses Christian Fellowship.
  • Oral Health America.
  • Procter & Gamble.
  • Palmero Health Care.
  • Patterson Companies, Inc.
  • Premier Dental Products.
  • Professional Disposables Int'l.
  • Pulpdent Corp.
  • Richmond Dental.
  • Rite Aid Corporation.
  • Scholastic Book Fairs, Inc.
  • SDS Kerr.
  • Sempermed USA.
  • Septodont, Inc.
  • SJR Group LLC.
  • SmartPractice.
  • Southern Dental.
  • SS White Burs.
  • Sultan Chemists.
  • Sunstar Americas, Inc.
  • Supermax Inc.
  • Surgical Specialties.
  • Temple Shalom Nursery School.
  • Texas Dental Association.
  • The New York Chapter of the Electronic Representatives Assoc.
  • TIDI Products.
  • Total Care.
  • Tuttnauer.
  • UNO Pre-Dental Society.
  • Waterpik Technologies, Inc.
  • Wells Fargo Foundation.
  • Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company.
  • Yahoo, Inc.
  • Young Dental Manufacturing.
  • Zenith Dental.
  • Zirc Company.