MELVILLE, N.Y., Feb. 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- For the 14th consecutive year, Henry Schein, Inc., the world's largest provider of health care products and services to office-based dental, animal health and medical practitioners, is joining 26 of its supplier partners to help expand access to oral health care for underserved children in the United States as part of the ADA Foundation's Give Kids A Smile (GKAS) program, the largest children's oral health charitable initiative in the world.
Celebrated nationally on the first Friday of each February, and with events taking place year-round, GKAS Day is the result of a public-private partnership between the ADA Foundation, Henry Schein, Colgate-Palmolive, and DEXIS. Henry Schein has served as GKAS's official professional products sponsor since the American Dental Association (ADA) launched the program in 2003 to help raise awareness of the critical need to expand access to oral health care for children in the U.S. Since the program's inception, Henry Schein, together with its supplier partners, has donated more than $14 million in oral health care products used to provide free oral health services for more than 5 million children.
This year, 300,000 underserved children will receive free oral health screenings, education and treatment at 1,500 locations across the country. Care will be delivered by nearly 40,000 dental team volunteers, including more than 10,000 dentists, using supplies from 3,000 kits of essential oral health care products donated by Henry Schein and the Company's supplier partners.
"Henry Schein's commitment to the Give Kids A Smile program grows deeper every year, and the generosity of our supplier partners strengthens our resolve to expand access to oral health care for underserved children," said Stanley M. Bergman, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Henry Schein, Inc. "In recognition of the integral link between a person's oral health and their overall health, we will continue to stand with our partners in support of this program. By providing participating oral health professionals with the products needed to provide quality oral health care, we can ensure that each participating child is set on the path to a lifetime of bright and healthy smiles."
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dental caries, or cavities, are the most prevalent infectious disease in children in the U.S., affecting more than 40 percent of infants and preschoolers by the time they reach kindergarten and about half of all children from lower-income families. In addition, a study published by The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA), the ADA's flagship scientific publication on dentistry, indicates that, while dental caries is a multifactorial disease with many behavioral and community determinants, children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds have a higher average incidence of tooth decay.
"We are so proud of the tremendous success of the Give Kids A Smile program," said Reneida Reyes, D.D.S., M.P.H., President, ADAF. "Over the past 14 years, it has proven to be a great example of how the dental profession—dentists, hygienists, assistants and others—can work together for a great cause. It is also a terrific model for the public-private partnership that Mr. Bergman refers to so often. We are grateful for our national sponsors, Henry Schein, Colgate, and DEXIS for all that they do to help us care for the oral health well-being of these children."
Henry Schein's supplier partners that are supporting the 2016 Give Kids A Smile program through product donations include: 3M; ACTEON Group; Ansell; Axis Dental; Centrix; Coltene/Whaledent, Inc.; Cranberry USA, Inc.; Crosstex; DASH Medical Gloves; DENTSPLY International, Inc.; DMG America; DUKAL Corporation; DUX Dental; Integra Miltex; Medicom; Microflex Corporation; Premier Dental Products Company; KaVo Kerr Group; Sempermed USA; Septodont; Sultan Healthcare; Sunstar Americas, Inc.; TIDI Products; Tuttnauer USA; Water Pik, Inc.; and Young Dental.