Smile Drive Reaches 2 Million Milestone

Dentistry Today


Many children from low-income families oral hygiene products such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, prompting America’s ToothFairy to launch its Smile Drive campaign in 2014. Since then, the nonprofit organization has donated more than 2 million oral hygiene products to children in need. 

“The stories we were hearing from our member clinics and from children at our outreach events were heartbreaking. We know the devastating consequences of poor oral hygiene, and we know that children from low-income families suffer more from lack of access to care and preventive services,” said Jill Malmgren, executive director of America’s ToothFairy.

“Many also lack basic oral care items in their home, and that is a big part of the problem. We decided that if food drives were a good way to help families living with food insecurity, we could create a similar program for oral hygiene products,” Malmgren said. 

The Smile Drive began with two goals: raising awareness of the nation’s most common untreated disease, which is tooth decay, and engaging community volunteers to collect toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and other oral care items for children in need to help prevent the pain and embarrassment of tooth decay and keep their smiles healthy.

During the 2019 campaign, which began in July 2018 and ran through June 2019, 96 Smile Drives were held in 27 states, collecting more than 51,500 oral care items. Volunteers distributed the donated items to 56 organizations that serve children in need such as shelters, Title 1 schools, and Boys & Girls Clubs across the country. 

Also, dental corporations contributed toothbrushes and other preventive care products to the campaign to help reach this milestone. America’s ToothFairy distributed the corporate donations to its Dental Resource Program member clinics, which provide access to care and oral health education to kids in underserved communities.

“Our most valued donation from America’s ToothFairy this year has been the toothbrushes,” said Kimberly Richbourg, RDH, clinical manager of the Virginia Commonwealth University Dental Pediatrics program, which is a member of the Dental Resource Program.

“When we discover that families have been using one brush that has months of old frayed bristles for a family home of six-plus, we realize that our impact to their world is more than just a routine cleaning, fluoride, and goodie bag, but the support of oral and body health that will make a difference in their overall wellness for life,” said Richbourg. 

The 2020 Smile Drive will begin in September, featuring a new text-to-give feature that will give donors an additional way to help, America’s ToothFairy said. For every dollar donated, three toothbrushes will be purchased. New contests also are planned to make holding a Smile Drive more fun for volunteers. For more information, visit

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