USC University of Southern California

Colgate-Palmolive Campaign Donates $10,000 in Products to Two Ostrow Community Programs

First year pediatric dentistry resident Geraldine Ruiz screens third grader Marilyn Beltran in the Neighborhood Mobile Clinic.
First year pediatric dentistry resident Geraldine Ruiz screens third grader Marilyn Beltran under the supervision of Neighborhood Mobile Clinic Co-Director Carlos Sanchez.

By Beth Newcomb MPH ‘13

Ostrow School of Dentistry community service programs received $10,000 in free oral care products resulting from a pledge campaign from Colgate-Palmolive and the Hispanic Dental Association during July 2013’s Oral Health Month.

The Neighborhood Mobile Dental Van Prevention Program (NMDVPP) and the USC Dental Clinic at the Union Rescue Mission (URM) each received $5000 in toothbrushes, toothpaste and mouthwash for distribution to their patients. The funds were the result of a campaign that encouraged consumer participants to take charge of their smiles by pledging online or by text message to practice healthy habits. For every pledge submitted during Oral Health Month in July 2013, a dental clinic in one of the chosen cities nearest the participant received $1 worth of Colgate oral care products.

The NMDVPP provides screenings, education and preventive treatment at several elementary schools in the USC neighborhood, traveling between locations with two mobile clinic vehicles. The program received oral hygiene supplies geared for the young kids the program serves, including “Spongebob Squarepants” toothbrushes and toothpaste.

NMDVPP Co-Director Carlos Sanchez says that the average yearly budget of the program is $40,000, so the donation will have a big impact.

“Our program relies on grants,” he says. “Five thousand dollars goes a long way. We’ll be able to help more people and provide more oral health supplies to the less fortunate.”

The URM clinic primarily serves homeless individuals from shelters and missions in downtown Los Angeles and is located within the Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row. Santosh Sundaresan, Ostrow’s section chair of community dentistry, says the donation of toothbrushes, toothpaste and mouthwash will help free up funds as they work to provide comprehensive treatment as well as oral health supplies to those in need.

“The dental clinic performs comprehensive care dental treatment, taking care of the patients’ dental needs including cleaning, extractions, restorations, root canal treatment and, most importantly, dentures, which restores their smile and self esteem,” he says. “As we have to buy toothbrushes, this is definitely a blessing.”