Kraft Foods, the manufacturer of Trident, will partner with Oral Health America's Smiles Across America program (SAA) and actor Chris O'Donnell to help fight cavities among the nation's youth and address the need for oral disease prevention services.
 
Tooth decay affects approximately half of all second graders and nearly 80% of 17-year-olds. Despite this, nearly three-quarters (74%) of U.S. parents don't necessarily consider tooth decay to be a chronic childhood disease. However, many parents do recognize that, if left untreated, tooth decay can negatively impact a child's well-being, self-esteem or even concentration level.
 
Smiles Across America supports dental services for more than 250,000 children annually in underserved communities nationwide. The program has pledged to deliver one million sealants, a critical preventative oral health care procedure for children, by the end of 2010. Having already reached that goal, Smiles Across America now has raised the objective to two million sealants by 2020.
 
"Through this program, we're committed to raising public awareness about the importance of healthy mouths for healthy lives," says Beth Truett, president and ceo of Oral Health America. "Our three-year partnership with Trident has enabled us to expand our area of service in 2010, helping us to be well on our way to meeting our increased goal."
 
When consumers purchase any pack of Trident gum between Sept. 13 and 19, Kraft Foods will donate five cents per pack to Smiles Across America. Anyone interested in the campaign’s progress can check the results on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tridentgum.
 
"We believe that every family should have access to preventative dental care for healthy smiles," says Becky McAninch, senior brand manager, Trident marketing. "Smiles Across America provides such an important service to communities around the country. We're proud to help aid their efforts."
 
Famed movie and television actor Chris O'Donnell, someone accustomed to striking a smile on the red carpet, echoes those sentiments. "As a parent of five children, I know first-hand the importance of healthy dental habits for my family," O'Donnell says. "The Smiles Across America program helps to not only promote healthy habits, but also provides critical dental care services through schools reaching those kids that might not otherwise have access. I'm thrilled to be joining this effort to help celebrate and protect smiles."
 
For more information, visit www.oralhealthamerica.org or www.kraftfoodscompany.com.