Henry Schein Inc, Melville, NY, has joined forces with the American Dental Association (ADA) Foundation to celebrate its 13th annual Give Kids A Smile Day (GKAS Day).

The ADA-sponsored event takes place on the first Friday of each February. The ADA launched the initiative in 2003 to help raise awareness to expand access to oral health care for underserved US children. It is estimated that this year, nearly 350,000 children will receive free oral health care services at approximately 1,500 locations in the United States as part of this charitable event. Care will be delivered by nearly 40,000 dental team volunteers, including 10,000 clinicians.

GKAS Day is the result of a public-private partnership between the ADA, ADA Foundation, Henry Schein, Colgate-Palmolive, and DEXIS. Henry Schein, together with its supplier partners, has donated more than $13 million in oral health care products to date, which are used to provide free oral health services for nearly five million children.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dental caries is the most prevalent infectious disease in children in the United States, affecting more than 40% of infants and preschoolers by the time they reach kindergarten and about half of all children from lower-income families.

In addition, a study published by The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) indicates that, while dental caries is a multifactorial disease with many behavioral and community determinants, children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds have a higher average incidence of tooth decay.