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.
"Since the inception of the Give Kids A Smile program, Henry Schein – through our global social responsibility program, Henry Schein Cares – has been proud to serve as the exclusive professional product sponsor and are grateful for the support of our valued supplier partners," said Stanley M. Bergman, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Henry Schein. "We remain steadfast in our commitment to Give Kids A Smile's mission of oral disease prevention in children. The importance of this message remains as crucial today as it ever has been, even as new U.S. health care regulations begin to address gaps in the provision of pediatric oral health care, particularly for the young and the poor. We must seize on this momentum to address the significant barriers to accessing critical oral care that still remain."
This year, Henry Schein and 26 supplier partners provided 3,000 oral health care screening and prevention kits to the program, each containing supplies to serve 50 children. To date, Henry Schein and its supplier partners have donated products and services valued at more than $12 million to the Give Kids A Smile program.
"As a result of public-private partnerships gained through our dedicated dental professionals and industry partners, like Henry Schein, we hope to realize our collective vision of eliminating cavities in all U.S. five year-olds by 2020," said Charles H. Norman, D.D.S., President of the American Dental Association. "For the past 12 years through the Give Kids A Smile program, Henry Schein and its supplier partners have made important contributions to enhancing access to oral health care for millions of children, and we are grateful for their long-standing support."
Henry Schein supplier partners supporting the 2014 Give Kids A Smile Program through product donations include: 3M ESPE, Acteon, Ansell Healthcare, Centrix, Coltene/Whaledent Inc., Crosstex International, Dentsply Professional, DMG America, Dukal Corporation, DUX Dental, GC America, Harry J. Bosworth Company, Hu-Friedy, Kerr Corporation, Kimberly-Clark Healthcare, Medicom, Microflex Corporation, PDI, Premier Dental Products, Richmond Dental, Sempermed USA, Septodont, Sultan Healthcare, TIDI Products, Tuttnauer and Young Dental.