Today, Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures® oral health education program held a special event at the Fienberg Fisher School in Miami Beach to dedicate one of its mobile dental vans to provide free dental screenings, oral health education and treatment referrals to children in need throughout Florida.
Against a backdrop of music and costumed characters, more than 400 elementary school students joined former Miami Dolphin Jason Taylor to celebrate the unveiling of Colgate’s mobile dental van for the state of Florida. As part of the festivities, students on-site received free dental screenings aboard the van and participated in a mass “brush-a-thon” led by Taylor. Mayor Matti Herrera Bower was also in attendance alongside civic leaders, members of the dental profession and the Fienberg Fisher cheering squad to help promote healthy habits among the children.
“For more than 20 years, Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures® has focused on improving children’s oral health across the country,” explained Dr. Marsha Butler, Vice President, Global Oral Care and Professional Relations, Colgate-Palmolive. “With staggering cavity rates and increased school absences, we recognized Florida as an area where we could make a big difference. With support from our professional and community partners, we are confident that we can provide a valuable service in Florida by providing free education materials and dental screenings to children in need.”
Dental care is the single greatest unmet need for health services among U.S. children. According to the Pew Charitable Trust 2011 report “The State of Children’s Dental Health: Making Coverage Matter”, the state of Florida performed the worst with regard to ensuring low-income children’s access to care; receiving a grade of “F” for the second consecutive year.
“Throughout the U.S., many children still do not have access to basic dental care and lack the education needed to maintain good oral health”, said Jason Taylor. “Here in Florida, there’s a surprising lack of awareness regarding the impact healthy habits can have on a child’s smile, social development and academic success. As a father, I’m proud to be a part of today’s celebration by helping to show these kids that brushing properly, eating right, and visiting the dentist regularly are easy steps to achieving the power of a bright smile.”
Colgate’s fleet of mobile dental vans visits more than 1,000 towns each year in the U.S, reaching more than 10 million children with oral health education and dental screenings. Colgate’s new efforts in the state of Florida are being greatly supported by Broward County Public Schools; Community Health of South Florida, Inc.; the Continental Societies, Inc.; Hispanic Dental Association; Miami Dade College’s School of Allied Health Technologies; Miami Dade County Public Schools; National Dental Association; Nova Southeastern University’s College of Dental Medicine, and the University of Florida College of Dentistry.
Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures® is among the most far reaching, successful children's oral health initiatives in the world. To date, the program has reached 650 million children and their families across 80 countries. To learn more, please visit www.ColgateBSBF.com.