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Jeff Gordon revs up to support 2015 GKAS and oral health for underserved kids

Announces last go-round with NASCAR

February 04, 2015

By Jean Williams

Team effort: NASCAR star Jeff Gordon (third from left) joins Gene Wurth (from left), ADA Foundation executive director; Dr. Reneida E. Reyes, ADA Foundation president; and Dr. Maxine Feinberg, ADA president, at a GKAS kick-off breakfast in New York.
New York
—NASCAR star Jeff Gordon has gone the distance—in his career and in his devotion to children's health issues, including championing their oral health in 2015 through the ADA Foundation's Give Kids A Smile program.
The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion is an ambassador for the Give Kids A Smile NASCAR Oral Health Education program with the ADA Foundation, 3M ESPE Dental Products, CareCredit, Henry Schein and Church & Dwight.   Throughout 2015, the team will deliver oral health messages to some 10,000 underserved elementary school children in five race markets with fun-filled, high speed oral health education events.  Mr. Gordon is well known for his work with children around the world through the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation, and brings that passion to his new role advocating for children's oral health through school-based educational programs.
Mr. Gordon, who has announced plans to retire from full-time competition with NASCAR after the 2015 season, shared Feb. 3 on Fox News that much thought went into his decision.
"I've been thinking about this for years," he said on the segment. "I've been racing all my life since I was six years old. It was just the right time, the right time for me personally. I have two young children, a beautiful wife, and I want to spend more time with them. Also, it just was the right time when you look at what the future holds …  I've got some opportunities that I'm really excited about in the future. I can't wait for this final season."
On the segment he also highlighted the national kickoff of Give Kids A Smile and his participation as a partner bringing recognition to the oral health needs of children with no or limited access to care. He also joined ADA President, Dr. Maxine Feinberg, ADA Foundation President, Dr. Reneida E. Reyes, ADA Foundation Executive Director Gene Wurth and other dental industry representatives at a breakfast at the Muse Hotel in New York, where he discussed Give Kids A Smile and his NASCAR career with media.
The ADA Foundation reminds participating dentists of these important oral health messages for children and caregivers:
  • Children should brush for two minutes, twice a day. They should floss once a day as soon as their teeth touch and make smart food choices.
  • Baby teeth are important and they are at risk for decay as soon as they first appear. Children should see a dentist regularly starting around the time the first tooth erupts or no later than their first birthday.  
  • The dentist can show you how to clean tiny teeth properly and how to evaluate habits like thumb sucking.
  • If you have a baby with sore or tender gums, gently rub the gums with a clean finger, cool spoon, or wet gauze to soothe the area.
  • Children older than two should brush their teeth with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Be sure they spit it out!
  • Cavity-causing bacteria can be passed from parent to child. Don't share spoons or "clean" a pacifier with your mouth.
Other helpful resources dentists may share with patients and caregivers include the 2 minutes 2 times a day campaign and the ADA's consumer website MouthHealthy.org, which includes fun instructional videos: Brushy Brush with Elmo! and Open Sesame.

The ADA Foundation's Give Kids A Smile program, now in its 13th year, is an access-to-care program whereby more than 1,500 Give Kids A Smile events will be held throughout the year around the country, providing dental services to approximately 350,000 underserved children.
The national kick-off for Give Kids A Smile is Feb. 6. Thousands of dentists will offer free oral health services to hundreds of thousands of underserved children nationwide. A.T. Still University's Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health, in Mesa, Arizona, will host the national GKAS kickoff. Hundreds of children in need of dental care will visit the dental school, where volunteer dentists, faculty and students will provide dental services such as cleanings, sealants, fillings and extractions.  Henry Schein, Colgate and DEXIS are national GKAS sponsors.
For more information and smart dental tips, visit www.ada.org/givekidsasmile, www.3MESPE.com, and www.Facebook.com/GiveKidsASmile.