JOLIET, Ill., Sept. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- When Danica Patrick takes to the track for today's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway, race fans will notice her blue-and-white No. 10 Aspen Dental Chevrolet SS looks a little different than usual. That's because in honor of our nation's veterans, Patrick's car features the names of more than 2,200 veterans who were "saluted" earlier this year by Americans across the country on Aspen Dental's Facebook page. The social media campaign was designed to honor their contributions to our country and bring attention to the fact that many veterans do not receive the dental care they desperately need.
"I'm proud to be racing with the names of so many of our nation's veterans on my car," said Patrick. "Aspen Dental dentists have made a real difference in the lives of many veterans by providing free care through the Healthy Mouth Movement and I'm honored to continue to support this initiative."
Four of the 2,200 veterans featured on the special paint scheme of Patrick's Aspen Dental Chevrolet SS are attending the race as guests of Aspen Dental practices. They were among more than 250 veterans to receive free, comprehensive dentistry as part of Aspen Dental's "A Smile for Your Service" effort. Stephen Leon, an Army Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient from Boston; Randall Murray, a former B-52 bomber tail gunner hailing from Jonesboro, Arkansas; Peter Bouley, a former Marine who served on the front lines during the Tet Offensive from Providence, Rhode Island; and Justin Bodine, a recently-returned Iraqi War veteran from Springfield, Illinois, all received thousands of dollars worth of dental work from the Aspen Dental practices in their communities.
These veterans were invited to the race to see their names featured on the No. 10 Chevrolet SS and to help Aspen Dental further give back to the veteran community by presenting leading veteran organization and partner, Got Your 6, with a check for $75,000.
"We're incredibly thankful for Aspen Dental's partnership with us and we're honored to continue to help them raise awareness for dental care for our military's veterans," said Rob Gordon, president of Be The Change, who oversees Got Your 6 operations. "Improving a veteran's smile can make a big difference in their lives and can lead to restoring confidence and contribute to tackling some of life's challenges."
For many veterans, maintaining their oral health is a luxury instead of a necessity. Veterans cannot receive any dental care needed from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) unless they are classified as 100 percent disabled, have a service-connected dental condition, or have a service-oriented medical condition that is affected by their mouth – conditions that many veterans do not meet.
That is why this year, Aspen Dental's Healthy Mouth Movement, a community-giving initiative, is highlighting the lack of dental care for veterans and is expected to help 5,000 veterans across 300 Aspen Dental offices around the country and provide more than $3 million in donated dentistry.
"As an Air Force veteran myself, I know firsthand the challenges that many veterans face upon returning to civilian life and this initiative holds special significance to me," said Jere Gillan, Doctor of Medicine and Dentistry, an Aspen Dental dentist and practice owner in Florida who has helped lead the Healthy Mouth Movement. "I feel a great sense of pride that my fellow dentists and I have been able to help make a positive impact on these patients' lives."
The lack of oral healthcare for veterans is part of a larger oral health issue in America as there are 155 million American adults who did not go to the dentist last year and nearly half of people over the age of 30 suffer from some form of gum disease.
Cost and access to dental care are big contributors to this problem. According to a study by a leading polling firm, two in five Americans have limited, or will delay, dental care because of their financial situation. This is despite the fact that 80 percent of them know that delaying routine visits will cost them more money in the long run.
About Aspen Dental Practices
Dentists and staff at Aspen Dental practices believe everyone has the right to quality, affordable oral health care. As one of the largest and fastest-growing networks of independent dental care providers in the U.S., local Aspen Dental practices – over 500 of them across 32 states – offer patients a safe, welcoming and judgment-free environment to address their dental challenges. Every Aspen Dental-branded practice offers a full range of dental and denture services – including comprehensive exams, cleanings, extractions, fillings, periodontal treatment, whitening, oral surgery, crown and bridge work – allowing patients to have the peace of mind that they are taken care of and protected, so they can focus on getting the healthy mouth they deserve. In 2014, Aspen Dental-branded practices recorded more than 3.4 million patient visits and welcomed nearly 750,000 new patients.
Aspen Dental practices are supported by Aspen Dental Management, Inc. (ADMI), a dental services organization that provides non-clinical business services to licensed, independent dentists. To learn more about Aspen Dental practices and services, preview the Aspen Dental patient experience, get answers to general treatment questions, find a location, and schedule appointments, visit www.aspendental.com. To learn more about careers at ADMI and Aspen Dental practices, visit http://aspendentaljobs.com.
About Got Your 6
Got Your 6 is a collective impact campaign that works to bridge the military-civilian divide. Combining the reach and resources of the entertainment industry with the expertise and commitment from veteran-focused non-profit and government partners, the campaign works to advance the conversation in America so veterans and military families are seen as leaders and civic assets who will invigorate our communities. In 2013 and 2014, Got Your 6 distributed grants totaling over $4 million to their veteran-focused non-profit partners. For more information, visit www.gotyour6.org. Be the Change, Inc., an independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, is the organizing body and fiscal sponsor of Got Your 6.
SOURCE Aspen Dental