Partnership Provides Oral Healthcare to Underserved Kids in Austin

Dentistry Today
Photo by Keira Hand.


Photo by Keira Hand.

Former college and professional football star Michael Griffin helped students at Cook Elementary School in Austin, Texas, learn about the importance of good oral hygiene on December 3. The students also brushed larger-than-life teeth, wrangled with giant floss, and met the Tooth Guardian, among other activities designed to get them thinking about good oral hygiene at an early age.

Earlier this year, the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America committed $1 million to the Children’s Health Fund, launching the Guardians of the Smile partnership to provide quality dental care and education through programs like the one at Cook Elementary School to children in underserved communities across the United States. 

“Austin is my hometown and where I started my football career, and today it’s where I co-own a business. This community is everything to me,” said Griffin, a Guardians of the Smile spokesperson. “The children in this city deserve to have bright and healthy smiles. Guardian and Children’s Health Fund are teaching kids about healthy habits, moderation, and self-esteem, lessons which will last for years.”

From January to June 2018, Children’s Health Fund programs provided more than 7,500 dental encounters to children in Washington, DC, Dallas, Idaho, Los Angeles, New York, and Southern Arizona with Guardian’s support. That number will continue to grow during the second half of the year as the Children’s Health Fund reaches more children in more communities. 

Also earlier this year, a partnership launch at a public school in Harlem, New York, featured celebrity host Anne McClain. The largest event to date was held at the Jubilee Park Community Center in Dallas, where Guardian contributed $10,000 toward the community kitchen. The Children’s Health Fund provides dental health fact sheets, a Halloween Guide, and other materials for parents and guardians on its website. And as part of his partnership, Griffin will provide dental kits at his bakery in Bee Cave, Texas, in December. 

“As one of the leading dental insurance providers in the US, Guardian believes that all children, regardless of geography or income, should have access to dental services that foster good oral health,” said Marc Costantini, executive vice president, commercial and government markets, Guardian Life Insurance. “Our partnership with Children’s Health Fund showcases the best of Guardian, and perhaps the best that companies can do when they put their values first.” 

“Our approach to children’s health is holistic, and dental care at an early age is essential to overall health,” said Dennis Walto, CEO of the Children’s Health Fund. “Our efforts to ensure the whole child is healthy are strengthened by our partnership with Guardian. With their support, we are providing engaging and fun programming that teaches children the importance of dental health and builds good oral hygiene practices that will benefit them all through life.” 

Guardians of the Smile will continue in 2019, with events planned for Arizona, California, and Washington, DC.

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