Henry Schein, Inc. (NASDAQ: HSIC), the world's largest provider of health care products and services to office-based dental, animal health and medical practitioners, together with 26 of the Company's valued supplier partners, join the American Dental Association (ADA) today to celebrate the ADA's annual Give Kids A Smile Day.
Held on the first Friday of each February, Give Kids A Smile Day was launched by the ADA in 2003 to mobilize dentists, dental team members, and local volunteers to provide oral health services to underserved children in their communities and bring attention to the critical need to expand access to oral health care for children. Give Kids A Smile Day has become the largest oral health charitable program in the world, as part of ADA's year-round Give Kids A Smile program. Henry Schein Dental has served as the program's exclusive professional product sponsor since Give Kids A Smile's inception.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tooth decay affects 25 percent of 6 to 11 year-olds and 59 percent of adolescents aged 12 to 19. Tooth decay is the single most chronic childhood disease in this country, and while wholly preventable, the burden of oral disease is borne disproportionately by the nation's youngest and poorest citizens.
According to the ADA's Health Policy Resources Center, by 2018 an estimated 8.7 million children will gain some level of dental benefits from the Affordable Care Act (ACA), reducing the number of children who lack dental benefits by 55 percent. This increase in dental coverage is intended to address the three aims of the ACA's national strategy: to enhance overall quality of care; to improve the health of communities and the U.S. population; and to make quality care more affordable. Despite this important step toward improving the state of oral health in the U.S., significant barriers remain for underserved populations, including a lack of oral health education and geographic obstacles.
Give Kids A Smile Day is now in its 12th successful year, thanks to volunteer efforts of dentists and dental team members, annual donations of oral health supplies valued at more than $1 million from Henry Schein and its supplier partners, and the partnership of Colgate-Palmolive and DEXIS. Since its inception, Give Kids A Smile has provided approximately five million children with free oral health services with the help of almost half a million volunteers. This year alone, Give Kids A Smile will bring approximately 28,000 dental team volunteers, including 9,000 dentists, together with nearly 350,000 underserved children at 1,500 events across the country for free oral health screenings, education and treatment.