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Donate, volunteer to help Special Olympics athletes protect their smiles

November 14, 2017

By Michelle Manchir

Dental professionals can support children with special needs who often have difficulty accessing dental care through a program spearheaded by America's ToothFairy: National Children's Oral Health Foundation and the Academy for Sports Dentistry.

Image of America's Toothfairy logoThe Safe Smiles campaign, an initiative by America's ToothFairy, invites dentists to volunteer their time to help fit a local Special Olympics team with mouthguards or to donate money to help support the distribution of mouthguards.

Until Dec. 15, Shock Doctor, a mouthguard manufacturer and retailer, will match any donations made up to $5,000, according to a news release from the Academy for Sports Dentistry.

"Mouthguards are critical for all athletes to protect against dental injuries," said Mary Horwath, senior vice president of marketing for United Sports Brands, the parent company of Shock Doctor. "Shock Doctor is proud to provide donated mouthguards to America's ToothFairy in support of the Safe Smiles Campaign, ensuring Special Olympics athletes experience the joy of competition without the risk of injury."
 
The ADA Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention and the Council on Scientific Affairs encourage patient education about the benefit of mouthguard use, which has been shown to reduce the risk of sport-related dental injuries.

"Mouth and tooth injuries can have serious consequences for children, especially those with special needs who often have difficulty accessing dental care," said Jill Malmgren, executive director of America's ToothFairy: National Children's Oral Health Foundation. "The Safe Smiles Campaign helps address this challenge by providing Special Olympics athletes important resources and tools to protect their smiles."

Dr. Danette McNew, president of the Academy for Sports Dentistry, said she has participated in Special Smiles events in the past along with the Texas A&M College of Dentistry.

"The athletes love sporting their mouthguards during their athletic activity, but we also see them wearing their guards as they walk around each of the exhibits and physician tables during Special Smiles events," she said. "This is a special and unique gift for most of them."

To donate to the effort, click here. To find out about volunteer opportunities with Safe Smiles, send an email to Charita Boseman, manager of Safe Smiles for Special Olympics, at cboseman@specialolympics.org.