CHICAGO, January 15, 2014 — With the start of the new year, Oral Health America (OHA) is kicking off a year-long celebration of its Smiles Across America® (SAA) program, which has been bringing healthy mouths to life for children across the country for 10 years.
"We are honored to celebrate a decade of bringing needed oral health care and education to children in school-based and school-linked settings through SAA," said OHA President and CEO Beth Truett. "Working with phenomenal partners in cities across the US, OHA is changing the game for at-risk kids who suffer from the #1 disease of childhood – tooth decay. Dedicated donors have supported us in impacting the lives of 400,000 children annually – helping them to learn without pain, improve their self-esteem and spread their healthy smiles across America.”
SAA supports oral health programs in school-based settings nationwide that provide preventive and restorative dental care and educate children about the importance of oral health. The program began in 2004 by supporting the Chicago Department of Health's dental program, which continues to provide dental care to over 100,000 students in Chicago Public Schools. Additional organizations were added to SAA every year after that, focusing on programs across the country that provide dental care for children in a sustainable way and have the desire to grow capacity. Today SAA supports partners through grant funding, technical assistance, and product donations. To date SAA has helped partners save over $1 million through donated dental product and has sealed over 750,000 teeth since committing in 2010 to sealing two million teeth by 2020.
To recognize the program's first decade, OHA will co-host events across the country and highlight the founding SAA partners throughout the year--Chicago Department of Public Health, Children's Dental Services of Minneapolis, New York University College of Dentistry--Pediatric Dentistry, Santa Barbara-Ventura Counties Dental Care Foundation, and West Virginia University. The anniversary festivities will culminate with a celebration held in Chicago, which is home to both the first SAA partner and OHA's national headquarters.
To find out how you can participate in this landmark anniversary or to learn more about SAA, please visit www.oralhealthamerica.org.