After reaching a billion children around the world, Colgate is expanding its Bright Smiles, Bright Futures (BSBF) oral health education program with a new initiative with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
Launched in the United States in 1991 and active in more than 80 countries, BSBF is among the most far-reaching, successful children’s oral health initiatives in the world, driving better oral health actions, greater awareness, and increased access to oral care, Colgate says.
The cornerstone of BSBF is an award-winning educational curriculum presented by classroom teachers. Colgate also has created new classroom toolkits for its employees to bring activities and experiments to children in school.
Also, Colgate operates nine mobile dental vans that visit more than 1,000 cities and towns in the United States to provide free dental screenings, oral health education, and treatment referrals to underserved children in schools, Head Start and afterschool programs, and community events.
“Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children around the world, so it’s our hope to reach the next billion children in half the time it took to reach our first billion,” said Dr. Marsha Butler, a dentist and Colgate-Palmolive vice president who has led the program since its inception.
“The Colgate brand is found in nearly two thirds of homes around the globe, more than any other brand in the world, so we have a special opportunity and responsibility to promote healthy oral care habits among the next generation,” said Butler.
In the United States, Colgate is expanding its partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America with its “Smile-a-bration” competition. Children at participating clubs will use music, dance, art, or some other creative expression to share the importance of health oral care habits. Winning clubs will receive a grant from Colgate.
“This is our fourth year bringing the Bright Smiles program into our Boys & Girls Clubs across the country,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “We believe it makes an important contribution to the health of our kids. Good brushing habits and a healthy mouth help build a child’s self-esteem and promote academic success. That’s a big part of our mission.”
In Mexico, Colgate BSBF has reached more than 224 million children since 1999. Colgate worked with the Mexico City government in 2017 to support legislation ensuring that 1.2 million children receive oral health education and a toothbrushing kit from Colgate. The company now hopes to extend the program’s reach to additional Mexican municipalities.
In Romania, the Romanian Red Cross is a valued partner in bringing the BSBF program into schools. In the past 25 years, Colgate BSBF has reached 6 million Romanian children.
In South Africa, Colgate has a longstanding relationship with the Department of Health. This partnership includes two mobile vans that reach 100,000 children a year and visits by dentists to schools to educate, screen, and provide treatment to children.
In India, where the focus has been on reaching underserved children in rural areas, Colgate recently added outreach to children in cities, partnering with the Dental Council of India and government agencies. Colgate India has reached 162 million children with dental education and checkups.
“Colgate people are honored to play a part in helping children to have a healthier and brighter future,” said Butler. “We believe that every child, everywhere in the world, deserves to have a future to smile about.”