INDIANAPOLIS — As the host of the American Dental Association’s (ADA) 2020 Give Kids A Smile (GKAS) national kickoff event tomorrow, volunteers at the Indiana University (IU) School of Dentistry will provide free oral health services to about 250 local children in need. Children at the event will receive dental exams, cleanings, fillings, crowns, extractions, fluoride, sealants, X-rays and oral health education.
“Financial barriers are a major reason people forgo necessary oral health care,” said Carol Anne Murdoch-Kinch, D.D.S., Ph.D., dean of the IU School of Dentistry. “Give Kids A Smile is one of the many ways the dental school helps underserved families receive the oral healthcare they need, and engages with our community here in Indianapolis to reduce barriers to accessing this care.”
More than 6 million children have received free oral health services through Give Kids A Smile since the program’s national launch in 2003. In 2020 alone, more than 300,000 children in need across the U.S. will receive free oral health services including oral health education, screening, preventive care and restorative treatment from nearly 6,500 volunteer dentists and 25,000 other dental team and community volunteers at 1,400 GKAS events. GKAS events range from those that provide services to hundreds of children in a day, to individual dentists providing pro-bono oral health services and a dental home to one or several children under the GKAS banner.
“Give Kids A Smile demonstrates the positive impact our profession can have when we come together,” said ADA President Chad Gehani, D.D.S. “The program is a great example of volunteers using their time and skills to make a difference. I want to thank all GKAS volunteers and the Indiana University School of Dentistry for hosting the kickoff event.”
The national kickoff would not be possible without the support of its generous sponsors, including Henry Schein, Inc. and Colgate-Palmolive.
“Serving as the exclusive professional product sponsor since the program’s inception, Henry Schein is pleased to continue supporting Give Kids A Smile because it aligns with our mission to ‘help health happen’ for underserved communities,” said Michele Penrose, chairperson, ADA Give Kids A Smile National Advisory Committee, and director, Global Professional Relations, Henry Schein. “By building public-private partnerships, along with the ADA and other like-minded organizations, we are raising awareness of the silent epidemic of oral disease in children across the United States. Together with our supplier partners, we are delighted to have donated products and services valued at more than $18 million since 2003 and we look forward to helping to contribute to the success of this wonderful program for years to come.”
“Colgate-Palmolive is honored to partner with the ADA by providing our consumer dental products to children at Give Kids A Smile events,” said Barbara Shearer, B.D.S., M.D.S., Ph.D., Colgate-Palmolive’s director of scientific affairs. “It’s inspiring to see so many people come together to make a difference in the lives of children.”
For more information about how Give Kids A Smile programs are organized across the country, please visit ADA.org. And to learn more about Give Kids A Smile programs taking place in your area, please contact the ADA or your state or local dental association.
Give Kids A Smile is also the anchor event of the ADA’s National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM). This year's NCDHM campaign slogan is, "Fluoride in water prevents cavities! Get it from the tap!"
To learn more about good oral health habits, visit MouthHealthy.org.