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Start your engines! GKAS hosts Brickyard event

July 23, 2015

By David Burger

Career path: A young member of the LeGore Boys & Girls Club in Indianapolis practices his driving in Jeff Gordon's race car.
Indianapolis — The ADA Foundation celebrated NASCAR star Jeff Gordon joining the Give Kids A Smile crew with a victory lap at two Boys & Girls Clubs in conjunction with the July 26 Brickyard 400 race in Indianapolis.

Gordon's No. 24 3M race car was the star attraction July 23 for more than 500 club members participating in GKAS national oral health education. They learned about how to outrun caries by brushing their teeth for two minutes twice a day, flossing and making smart food choices.

Sirius and Performance Racing Network's NASCAR host Brad Gillie and Dr. Jeff Dalin, co-founder of Give Kids A Smile St. Louis, educated the members of the two Indianapolis clubs, the LeGore Boys & Girls Club and the Keenan-Stahl Boys & Girls Club. There were also games and prizes, and all children received dental health kits that drove home the importance of having a healthy smile.

CareCredit, Church & Dwight, Henry Scribner Cares and 3M ESPE Dental engineered the program.

"It was a very exciting and electrifying environment," said Cindy Hearn, senior vice president of branding and communications for CareCredit and member of the ADAF's board of directors and GKAS advisory committee.

Speed week: A group of members of the LeGore Boys & Girls Club in Indianapolis poses in front of Jeff Gordon's race car.
Educating children early is key to GKAS, said Dr. Reneida E. Reyes, ADAF president. "Children are sponges," she said. "They can absorb a lot and we're here to give them good information about the importance of their oral health."

In a taped video available for viewing, Mr. Gordon said, "Want to join me on the fast track for good dental health? Nothing makes me smile like a trip to victory lane and with good brushing and flossing habits, a smart diet and regular visits to the dentist, you'll be smiling like I do when I bring home a win."

Mr. Gordon won the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994, and he is the most successful driver in the history of the race, with five victories and three pole positions.

The Indianapolis event was part of 3M ESPE Dental and the ADAF's partnership with NASCAR and the No. 24 3M team to deliver oral education to about 10,000 underserved elementary school children in five race markets featuring the race car and the No. 24 3M Chevy team. In September, the team will visit Darlington, South Carolina, and in October the team will visit Charlotte, North Carolina and Talladega, Alabama.

The GKAS program is one of the world's largest oral health charitable programs. Launched nationally by the ADA in 2003, GKAS is an access-to-care endeavor designed to encourage parents, health professionals and policymakers to address the year-round need for oral health care and education for all children. Each year the GKAS program helps support approximately 10,000 dentists, 30,000 dental team members, and other community volunteers in providing free oral health care services including exams, fluoride treatments, sealants, fillings, crowns, and extractions, to more than 350,000 children from low-income families across the country.