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Two schools, one race car

GKAS travels to Kentucky Speedway

July 14, 2014

By Kelly Soderlund

Photo of a group of children at the GKAS Nascar event in Kentucky 2014
Racing toward good oral health: Students from Williamstown Elementary School in Williamstown, Ky., pose with Dee-Bo, the 3M Pit Bull mascot, June 27 as part of a Give Kids A Smile education event.

Cincinnati is a hilly city, so it made sense that students at Roberts Academy didn’t see the surprise awaiting them.

The nearly 130 students walked from their school building to the blacktop parking lot June 26 knowing they were going to learn about oral health. But they didn’t know what was down the hill.

A trailer emblazoned with the 3M logo, NASCAR driver Greg Biffle’s name and No. 16 sat behind a stage, but it wasn’t until the students heard the loud roar of an engine that they knew what they were in for.


Prize winners: Students at Roberts Academy in Cincinnati smile with their toy cars modeled after the one NASCAR driver Greg Biffle drives.

The students’ mouths opened wide and they covered their ears as the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion car burned up the hill into the parking lot. The children ran to get a closer look of the race car, in awe that something that loud and that fast was in their presence. “Wow, that’s pretty cool, isn’t it kids?” said Wendy Venturini, Fox Sports host, who emceed the event. “That’s the car Greg Biffle is going to be racing this weekend at the Kentucky track not too far from here. Now, there’s another race we can win too but I need your help. That’s the race for good dental health. How many of you want to help me win?”

As part of the NASCAR race week at the Kentucky Speedway prior to the Quaker State 400 race June 28, the ADA’s Give Kids A Smile program and 3M Racing visited Roberts Academy in Cincinnati on June 26 and Williamstown Elementary School in Williamstown, Kentucky, on June 27 to educate students on good oral health and caries prevention.


Vrroom: Brayden Peeples, 8, student at Williamstown Elementary School in Kentucky, won the chance to sit in the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion race car.

“We’re going to challenge you to a race you can win—one with no cavities and good checkups at your dentist,” Dr. Jeff Dalin, GKAS co-founder, told the students. Dr. Dalin and Dr. Marie Callen, a pediatric dentist in Cincinnati, helped Ms. Venturini emcee the Roberts Academy event, with Dr. Callen translating everything into Spanish for the large international student population. Ms. Venturini was joined in Williamstown by Dr. W. Ken Rich, who practices in the town, Stephanie Mayfield Gibson, M.D., commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Public Health, and Erin Hoben, chief policy advisor for the Department for Medicaid Services in Kentucky.

Dr. Mayfield Gibson spoke to the children about smoking and chewing tobacco, one of Kentucky’s major health initiatives.

“We’re here today to show our young people we care about them,” said Dr. Mayfield Gibson, who is also the vice chair of the kyhealthnow oversight team—a statewide health initiative with a goal of reducing the percentage of children with untreated dental decay by 25 percent and increasing adult dental visits by 10 percent by 2019. “Kentucky sees mental, physical and oral health as just health.” The children also won prizes for answering questions about their oral health, got to meet and take photos with Dee-Bo, the 3M Pit Bull mascot, and received brushing tips from dental hygiene students from the University of Cincinnati, University of Kentucky and University of Louisville.

The goal of GKAS, 3M ESPE Dental, ADA Foundation, Henry Schein Inc., CareCredit, Church & Dwight, and Oral Health America is to use NASCAR racing and Greg Biffle to get children excited about their oral health. During the 2014 NASCAR season, GKAS is bringing the Brush with the Biff program to 11 racetracks. At the Kentucky Speedway June 28, race fans of all ages visited the 3M display booth and received Church & Dwight SpinBrushes and ToothTune toothbrushes.

Dr. Rich and his son, Dr. Jonathan, took some time to hand out dental care kits and spread the ADA’s message of brushing for two minutes twice a day (2min2x.org) prior to the race. “Tooth decay is totally preventable,” Dr. W. Ken Rich said. “If we’re constantly just filling teeth, we’re on the wrong end of the disease spectrum. These educational events bring the drawing power of NASCAR. Kids love cars. Kids love race car drivers. We put them together to educate children about oral health.”

The mission of educating children and race fans on good oral health will continue in Bristol, Tennessee, Chicago and Phoenix surrounding NASCAR races. Through a grant from the ADA Foundation made possible by funding from CareCredit and a grant from Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children: The Foundation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, students will have an opportunity to learn about Give Kids A Smile, Greg Biffle, 3M Racing and get smart dental tips that will improve their dental health, confidence, and ability to pay attention in school.

“Bringing the Give Kids A Smile program to Kentucky and Ohio helps create even more visibility and awareness for the Brush with the Biff education message,” said John Stefanick, director of industry relations for the 3M ESPE Dental Division. “And, being able to visit two schools helps expand our efforts to help children win the race for good dental health.”

For more smart dental tips, visit 2min2x.org, MouthHealthy.org and Facebook.com/GiveKidsASmile.