KIPP ZENITH participates in dental health program

The Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures (BSBF) global oral health program brought “25 Days of Smiles” – its 25th anniversary celebration – to Houston today, hosting oral health festivities that engaged Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing and more than 200 students at KIPP ZENITH Academy in a mass card stunt that raised awareness about the importance of dental health.

Bright Smiles, Bright Futures has been reaching children in urban and rural areas across the country since 1991. In 2001, Colgate dedicated a Bright Smiles, Bright Futures mobile dental van to travel the state of Texas, providing free dental screenings, oral health education and treatment referral to underserved children. The company maintains a fleet of nine mobile dental vans visit more than 1,000 U.S. cities and towns each year, reaching millions of children.

“Educating children about proper oral hygiene habits and helping underserved communities is at the heart of the Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program, said Dr. Marsha Butler, Colgate’s Vice President, Global Oral Health.  “Over the past 25 years, BSBF has reached more than 100 million children in the U.S. and more than 850 million in 80 countries.”

Dental care remains the greatest unmet health need among U.S. children, and low-income children, are almost twice as likely to develop cavities as their peers. Untreated decay can cause pain and infection that may lead to difficulty eating, speaking, socializing, and sleeping and to poor overall health. Dental problems also negatively affect school attendance and performance.

“If you’ve ever had a toothache, you know that it is very difficult to think about anything else,” Brian Cushing told the children. “I know from personal experience that it is very hard to excel when you are in pain. Someone told me that 51 million hours of school are lost each year due to dental-related illnesses. The thing is, you don’t have to have cavities or tooth pain. The Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program has been educating children and their families about oral health for 25 years, and we’re here with you today because we want you to take good care of your teeth and gums so that you can come to school ready to learn and succeed.”

Colgate kicked-off BSBF’s “25 Days of Smiles” campaign in September, donating 500,000 oral care products to the Kids In Need Foundation (KINF), a 501(3)(c) charitable organization that prepares children to learn and succeed by providing free school supplies to students most in need. The celebration has continued into October with oral health celebrations in select cities around the U.S. It also includes a #SmileforPictureDay challenge that encourages individuals to help drive awareness about the importance of children’s oral health by following @ColgateBSBF on Twitter and sharing their #TBT school picture using #SmileforPictureDay. For every photo shared between September 22 and October 31, 2016, Colgate will donate $1 to KINF.

Follow @ColgateBSBF on Twitter to learn more about the BSBF oral health festivals, get new and #throwback BSBF facts and photos, and oral health tips.

For more information on the Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program, or to request that a BSBF dental van visit a community near you, please visit www.colgatebsbf.com.