Building on a partnership spanning more than 20 years, Colgate-Palmolive proudly joined the National Dental Association (NDA) today for the launch of NDA-HEALTH NOW – a new health initiative that will send dental professionals, physicians, optometrists and nurses into New Orleans' underserved communities to provide free health services and screenings.
As part of today's kick-off celebration at the Treme Recreation Center, Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures® (BSBF) was on-site with two of their mobile dental vans to provide free dental screenings, oral health education and treatment referrals to children in attendance. Colgate's efforts also included a surprise guest, New Orleans Pelicans standout Jrue Holiday, who led more than 200 children in attendance, in educational activities that reinforced the importance of healthy habits.
"The NDA and Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures have been working together to raise oral health awareness and improve access to care for over two decades," said Dr. Marsha Butler, Vice President, Global Oral Health and Professional Relations, Colgate-Palmolive. "We know that simply telling children and their families that taking care of their teeth and gums is important is not enough. Over the years, we've learned that to successfully motivate change in behavior, taking the time to visit and speak to communities allows us to educate consumers on a personal level and show them why proper dental health matters."
"Healthy habits are important to anyone's well-being, especially children. Proper dental health can have an enormous impact on a child's smile, overall health, social development and academic success," added professional athlete, Jrue Holiday. "Today, I am proud to join Colgate to help raise awareness about the importance of proper oral health, while supporting NDA-HEALTH NOW and Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures – two programs that are actively making a real difference in the community."
The state of Louisiana represents an area that could greatly benefit from an initiative like NDA-HEALTH NOW. A Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey conducted between January and December 2013 ranked Louisiana in the bottom five of states in which residents were most likely to have visited the dentist in the past 12 months. It was also one of eight states that have ranked in the bottom ten every year since 2008. Similarly, a Pew Charitable Trust 2011 report entitled, "The State of Children's Dental Health: Making Coverage Matter," indicated that the state of Louisiana received a grade of "D" for its ability to ensure low-income children's access to care.
"As an organization, the NDA is committed to promoting oral health equity, with an emphasis on improving the delivery of care to those in need," explained Dr. Carrie Brown, the NDA's Acting President and President-elect. "Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures has been our partner in promoting access to care, encouraging more minorities to consider careers in the field of dentistry, and helping to fund oral health research. We are delighted to have them by our side here in New Orleans as we roll out NDA-HEALTH NOW."