Wells Fargo will light the Duke Energy Center in Charlotte, NC, blue today, February 13, to highlight Smile Drive Charlotte, a campaign hosted by local nonprofit America’s ToothFairy: National Children’s Oral Health Foundation. Now in its second year, the campaign aims to collect 50,000 oral care products for children in need and raise public awareness of the importance of oral health throughout February, which is National Children’s Dental Health Month.
Though largely preventable, childhood tooth decay is the most prevalent untreated disease among children in the United States. More than 36% of children in North Carolina experience tooth decay by the time they reach kindergarten, and 15% have untreated tooth decay, America’s ToothFairy reports.
“Simple necessities like a toothbrush and toothpaste are something thousands of children in our Charlotte community do without,” said Jill Malmgren, executive director of America’s ToothFairy. “Without the basic tools to maintain good, dental hygiene, children often face lifelong challenges with poor oral health that negatively impact their academic performance, school attendance, and overall heath.”
“We are pleased to support America’s ToothFairy and help generate awareness for their Smile Drive Charlotte effort,” said Bob Bertges, corporate properties director for Wells Fargo. “Our goal is to light the building in a way that connects directly with the Charlotte community. If we can help America’s ToothFairy put a focus on National Children’s Dental Health Month and collecting oral care products for local children in need, then we all benefit.”
Members of the community are invited to participate by collecting toothbrushes, toothpaste, and other oral care products and donate them to a local charity of their choice or to America’s ToothFairy for distribution to local schools and nonprofit organizations serving children in need. America’s ToothFairy will provide a collection box and a downloadable promotional toolkit for each Smile Drive site. More information is available at americastoothfairy.org/smiledriveclt.
Last year, Smile Drive Charlotte collected more than 82,000 oral care products for children in the Charlotte region. All 77 Title I schools in Mecklenburg County received toothbrushes to stock their hygiene closets. Also, more than 15 other nonprofit organizations including A Child’s Place, Loaves and Fishes, and Communities in Schools of Mecklenburg County benefitted from Smile Drive donations.
Sponsors of the 2018 Smile Drive Charlotte campaign include the Charlotte Hornets Foundation, the Dale Jr. Foundation, Speedway Children’s Charities, and Wells Fargo.
Underserved Families Still Face Major Barriers to Dental Care