Did you know that almost 40% of Hispanic adults in America live with untreated oral disease? That rate is nearly double that of the non-Hispanic population. Similarly, Hispanic children are twice as likely to have untreated cavities as compared with their non-Hispanic counterparts. Clearly there is a disparity in oral health among the Hispanic population across the United States, which is why the Hispanic Dental Association (HDA) was founded. The HDA is a national, non-profit organization made up of oral health professionals and students. Their mission is to eliminate the oral health disparities that currently exist within the Hispanic community through service, education, advocacy, and leadership. Working towards this goal has led to a partnership between the HDA and Colgate-Palmolive in the form of a new initiative, Colgate’s 2013 “Oral Health Month,” which kicks off next week.
Beginning July 1, the campaign will promote the practice of oral care habits through bi-lingual oral health education resources online and by providing free dental screenings for children, utilizing Colgate’s fleet of mobile dental vans used for their Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program. This year marks the first of such campaigns with a theme of “Unite for a World of Healthy Smiles,” (“Únete por un mundo de sonrisas saludables”) and according to a Fort Mills Times news article, the campaign is slated as an annual event. In addition to the educational tools and screenings, the initiative also gives consumers the opportunity to raise funds for their local dental clinics. Individuals are encouraged to pledge to practice healthy oral health habits online at Colgate.com/OHM or by texting “SONRIE” to 24474. Every pledge submitted during the month long program earns $1.00 (USD) worth of Colgate products for the pre-selected dental clinic nearest to the participant, up to $10,000 a clinic!
The United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health has reported that the Hispanic population has the highest un-insured rates in the U.S. Without insurance, many lack access to regular dental care and the education necessary to establish and maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Maritza Morell, President of the Hispanic Dental Association, stated that “We are inspired by the enthusiasm of this campaign and look forward to educating families across the U.S. and to helping our sponsored dental clinics, one pledge at a time.” For more information about “Oral Health Month,” check out the website at www.Colgate.com/OHM.
Written by Mark Paulsort
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