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GKAS/NASCAR revs up for school-based event


Spreading the word: NASCAR's Greg Biffle delivers oral health messages to fans at the 3M booth at Daytona International Speedway in February. Daytona was the site for the first GKAS/NASCAR event of 2013. Photos by Debby Robinson
Mira Loma, Calif
.—Working to overcome hurdles to a healthy smile, volunteers will transform the track and field area at Troth Street Elementary School March 21 to a setting that's part race track and part dental office for the second of 11 GKAS/NASCAR oral health education weekends this year.

With a NASCAR-themed backdrop, the school's 900 or so students, from pre-K through sixth-graders, will participate in the interactive program designed to help them get their oral health on track. The education program will showcase the Ad Council oral health message to brush for two minutes two times a day (2min2x.org), flossing, visiting the dentist and making smart food choices to protect their dental health.

Kids will also get a chance to see NASCAR driver Greg Biffle's No. 16 3M Ford Fusion show car and meet representatives from his racing team during the event.

"We at 3M ESPE are pleased to expand our Give Kids A Smile collaborative efforts from one race per year to 11 races, two dental school screening events and two elementary school education events during 2013," said John Stefanick, director, industry & professional relations for 3M ESPE.  "We firmly believe in the power of dental education and how it can make an impact in children's lives."

A Title 1 school, about 90 percent of Troth's students qualify for free/reduced lunch and 94 percent are Hispanic.

"Oral health education at a young age will lead to a lifetime of healthy habits", said Beth Truett, president and CEO, Oral Health America and board member of GKAS. "We are thrilled that through a variety of partnerships, the children in Mira Loma will be empowered with knowledge that will change their health and well-being."


Star power: NASCAR fans at Daytona International Speedway visit the 3M booth to see No. 16 driver Greg Biffle as he speaks about the importance of good oral health.
"Children in underserved communities need to have access to dental care. Dental disease not only causes health problems but can also make it difficult for children to thrive in school," said Cindy Hearn, senior vice president for CareCredit and 2013 board member of the ADA Foundation. "As the founding donor of the GKAS Program Growth Fund, CareCredit remains committed to improving the lives of children who have little to no access to necessary dental care."

Children at the school will also receive goody bags that contain education materials, floss, toothpaste, Trident gum and an ARM & HAMMER Spinbrush, donated by Church & Dwight.

The school-based education program will be a prequel to health education that will be held at the 3M display March 23-24 in conjunction with the NASCAR Auto Club 400 race at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Families at the track will be able to enjoy fun family activities and education about healthy dental habits.

GKAS/NASCAR sponsors include the ADA and ADA Foundation, Henry Schein Cares, CareCredit and 3M ESPE Dental. In 2011, they joined forces with Greg Biffle and 3M Racing to take the Give Kids A Smile program to the NASCAR audience. The program expanded with additional events in 2012, and based on the success of the effort, will reach 600,000 individuals with oral health messages in 2013. See the list of events online at ada.org/news/8301.aspx.

Greg Biffle's No. 16 3M car will sport a special Give Kids A Smile paint scheme during the Father's Day weekend race at Michigan International Speedway. The calendar will also include another school-based program in conjunction with a race weekend and two dental school-based programs.

Watch the ADA News for more details, visit the GKAS Facebook page (facebook.com/GiveKidsASmile) or follow GKAS on Twitter at #gkas or #givekidsasmile.