Every child deserves a healthy smile, but the opportunities to achieve one aren’t always equal. Oral health issues reach every mile of the country, but especially impact those living in underserved communities. In fact, Black children are almost twice as likely to have fair or poor oral health and Hispanic kids are nearly four times as likely to suffer as their peers.*
For too many families, the preventative dental care and resources needed to avoid tooth decay are just out of reach. This painful reality creates a lifetime of oral health issues that can lead to missed school, missed opportunities, impact on self-esteem, and impact school performance, contributing to a constant struggle to catch up. This is why Crest and Oral-B are bringing dental care access, oral health products and education to kids who need it most through partnerships with charitable organizations and dental professionals to help close the smile gap for 2 million families across 10 states this year.
“I was so sad to learn how many children, especially Black and Hispanic children, do not have the access to oral care or products that they deserve. I understand the devastating impact this can have as it’s an issue my own family has faced,” says Christina Milian, actress, mother, activist and brand advocate. “As a mother, I’m proud to partner with Crest and Oral-B to help close the smile gap, and shed light on this issue to help ensure kids across America have equal access to oral health resources they need. Together we can help make sure more kids have healthy smiles and an equal start, which is priceless to me.”
In partnership with America’s ToothFairy, Jet Dental, Feeding America® and a growing team of dental professionals, Crest and Oral-B will reach 2 million kids and families in need of dental care access, education and oral care products donations this year. The journey kicks off through the eyes of influential YouTube filmmaker, Thoraya Maronesy, who is shedding light on the scale of the oral health inequity, spotlighting the impact of a healthy smile and the work of individuals aimed at closing the smile gap to make a difference in kids and families’ oral health across the country.
“At Crest and Oral-B, our mission is to end oral health inequity and make great oral health a reality for kids in America,” said Carlos Quintero, P&G Vice President, Oral Care North America. “Not every kid has a fair chance of a healthy smile today, which can have a life-altering impact on their tomorrow. That is why Crest & Oral-B are Closing the Smile Gap. We’re committed to being a positive force for change by providing more equitable access to dental care, education and products for kids, and we will continue to partner with charitable organizations and dental professionals to reach communities in need.”
*Explaining racial/ethnic disparities in children’s dental health: a decomposition analysis
Guarnizo-Herreño & Wehby
*self- or caregiver-reported ranking of children’s oral health included excellent, good, fair, and poor options; dental professionals commonly define these rankings in this way: excellent = no visible plaque or calculus; good = minimal levels of plaque and calculus in only a few locations; fair = plaque and calculus throughout the mouth; and poor = extensive plaque and calculus throughout mouth.