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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures oral health education program held on Wednesday 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 also was 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,” said Marsha Butler, VP of global oral care and professional relations for 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.
Colgate’s fleet of mobile dental vans visits more than 1,000 towns each year in the United States, reaching more than 10 million children with oral health education and dental screenings.