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ADA celebrates 160 years of members’ service, advocacy

February 06, 2019

By Kimber Solana


From highlighting community service programs to celebrating the growth in diversity in the profession and achievements in advocacy, the ADA is commemorating its 160th anniversary with a focus on accomplishments that has helped dentistry improve oral health for all.

With the premise of “Driving Dentistry Forward,” the anniversary celebration begins this month by focusing on the ADA’s and its members’ role in giving back to the community. This month saw the annual national kickoff of the 2019 Give Kids A Smile in North Carolina, and the observance of National Children’s Dental Health Month.

Subsequently, the ADA will celebrate women in dentistry in March, raise oral cancer awareness in April, underscore advocacy achievements in May and take a look at dentists’ work beyond the dental chair in June.

“The ADA’s longevity is from its reputation in being the trusted advocate for the dental profession and the patients they serve, as well as being the trusted source of evidence-based science and public health information,” said Dr. Jeffrey M. Cole, ADA president.

Throughout the year, the ADA will take a look at how far it has come, the innovations it has made and the milestones worth celebrating, as well as what the future holds. Association members can expect to see these features in various ADA-related publications, social media channels, giveaways and a presence at various events.

“For the ADA to stay relevant, we need to share forces of change in such a way to advance the profession forward in a most positive way, to steer and guide change so that the foundations of our profession remain strong, and the business and practice of dentistry remain true to the trust placed in us by our patients,” Dr. Cole said.

With a focus on community service, the ADA Foundation’s 2019 Give Kids A Smile held its national kickoff Feb. 1 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where about 200 local children received free dental exams, cleanings, fillings, crowns, extractions, fluoride, sealants, X-rays and oral health education.

For this year’s National Children’s Dental Health Month, the annual, month-long campaign invites dental and other health care professionals and educators to come together and promote the benefits of good oral health care to children and their caregivers.

For 2019, the campaign slogan is "Brush and clean in between to build a healthy smile," referring to the recommendations to brush for two minutes twice a day and clean between teeth daily with an interdental cleaner. The ADA is providing dental professionals with free oral health posters and activity sheets targeting the youth. Large, full-color copies of the posters, available in English on one side and Spanish on the reverse side, and Smile Builder activity sheets are available for download at

In addition, the Association is asking its members to share how they’re driving dentistry forward — from how they’re giving back to their communities and profession, sharing their practice innovations or simply showcasing their lives and interests outside of dentistry. Members can read their colleagues’ stories or submit their own stories at or at Members can also join the celebration on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #ADA160.

For more information about the 160th anniversary celebration, visit