by Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS, FACD, FAGD, FICD, FADI
Climbing out of his No.16 3M Ford Fusion after his first-place victory at the Michigan 400 race in June, NASCAR driver and Give Kids A Smile champion Greg Biffle shared with the world his pride in driving the American Dental Association's GKAS car and his commitment to brightening the smiles of children across the country.
Biffle's 3M car has proudly sported the ADA GKAS and Henry Schein Cares logos during the past three years. Together with the ADA, ADA Foundation, 3M ESPE, Henry Schein, Church and Dwight, and CareCredit, he is raising awareness of the importance of good oral health for NASCAR's young fans.
Since the beginning of the year, more than 600,000 young and older NASCAR fans around the country have "accelerated" their track to good oral health, thanks to the NASCAR Give Kids A Smile Program.
"It is a true honor to be able to help [hundreds of thousands] of kids in need put their oral health into first gear through the Give Kids A Smile program," said Biffle. "Through our screening events, education, and raising awareness, we are brightening smiles around the country."
GKAS is an ADA initiative through which dentists and their dental teams provide free oral health-care services to children from underserved communities across the country.
"We could never have imagined the reach and impact that the Give Kids A Smile program would have when we founded the program over 12 years ago in St. Louis," said Dr. Jeff Dalin, GKAS cofounder. "It is so exciting to see the expanded reach of this program through NASCAR, which truly brings Give Kids A Smile to a new level."
Since the inception of GKAS in 2002, more than 150,000 dental volunteers nationwide have provided free oral health care and education to nearly five million underserved children. This year alone, more than 12,000 dental volunteers cared for nearly a half million children.
"Teaming up with NASCAR helped expand the Give Kids A Smile program and expand our reach," said Dr. Robert A. Faiella, ADA president. "Oral disease is the most common chronic childhood disease, and it can be prevented with proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits. Through this wonderful program, we are able to get one step closer to realizing our vision of eliminating cavities in U.S. five-year-olds by 2020."
Through this innovative partnership, oral health screening education events have been held at 11 NASCAR races around the country so far in 2013, educating hundreds of thousands of race fans of all ages about the importance of good oral health.
Promoting the message of 2min2x.org, the events raised awareness of the importance of brushing two times a day for two minutes, visiting a dentist, flossing every day, and using fluoride. Toothbrushes were given to participating children.
"CareCredit is honored to be a part of this exceptional program, which has grown steadily over the years and is impacting the lives of so many," said Cindy Hearn, CareCredit vice president of branding and communication. "There is much work to be done, and we look forward to working together with our partners to reach our goal of ending oral disease in American children."
In addition to following Biffle on the track, race fans can put themselves in victory lane with him. Just visit www.3MESPE.com/givekidsasmile to create a photo with Biffle on pit road or with the race-winning trophy in victory lane.
Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS, FACD, FAGD, FICD, FADI, practices general dentistry in St. Louis. He is a cofounder of the Give Kids A Smile program. Contact Dr. Dalin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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