How Crest and Oral-B are giving more kids access to basic oral care

The latest iteration of the Closing America’s Smile Gap campaign kicks off on National Brush Day.

Oral-B and Crest may donate up to 500,000 products. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

CINCINNATI: Crest and Oral-B are donating up to 500,000 products to children in need this month.

The effort is launching on Tuesday, National Brush Day, and is part of the brands’ Closing America’s Smile Gap campaign, which started last November with the goal of providing oral care to 20 million “smiles in need” by 2030. Procter & Gamble is the parent company for Crest and Oral-B.

“We have a fundamental belief that every child deserves the right to a healthy smile,” said Carlos De Jesus, SVP of oral care for North America at P&G. “Through research last year, we discovered kids in underserved communities don't have access to oral care. Given our purpose, we took this to heart and created this campaign.”

De Jesus said that Crest and Oral-B are trying to drive awareness that the No. 1 chronic disease in the U.S. is tooth decay and cavities, and that people in underserved communities are twice as likely to have these issues. Many kids in this cohort do not have a toothbrush or toothpaste, so they use their finger as a brush to clean their teeth instead. 

The communications strategy includes access, education and representation.

“When it comes to access, it is about how these kids don't have the toothbrushes and toothpaste at their house, so we are going to give away millions of products over the course of the year so they have access to them,” said De Jesus. “They also don't have access to dental services, so we are partnering with Kare Mobile, a mobile dental program where kids can get a dental checkup.” 

From an education standpoint, the brands are partnering with elementary schools to help children understand how to practice daily oral-care habits. 

The brands are also teaming up with dental schools to provide scholarships to dental hygienists and dentists so they can open offices and services in underserved areas. 

De Jesus noted that 60 million consumers live in “dental deserts,” which means there is not a dental service nearby.

The brands are promoting the campaign across online, video, print, digital and out-of-home ads. 

MSL is supporting Crest and Oral-B with this effort. Budget information was not disclosed. 

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