Global Smile Foundation + Benco Family Foundation = access to care

In many developing countries, children with cleft lips or palates are generally ostracized from society, unable to go to school or make friends. As adults, patients with the same issues have little chance of making a living.

Fathers often leave the family, believing their child or their marriage, has been cursed; parents will abandon their infant in the hospital, unable to cope with the future the child will face.

For the past three decades, Global Smile Foundation (GSF) has been dedicated to changing those devastating consequences by making first-class cleft care accessible to all patients, regardless of geographic or socioeconomic barriers.

Who supports these positive changemakers?

Every contribution to their organization helps fund life-changing comprehensive cleft care for underserved patients. One of their longtime supporters is the Benco Family Foundation, the charitable division of Benco Dental, the nation’s largest independently owned dental distributor.

“For the past 11 years, support from the Benco Family Foundation has helped Global Smile Foundation provide comprehensive cleft care for underserved patients born with cleft lip and palate.  
The people we serve live in parts of the developing world where access to proper care is extremely limited. By helping us reach these underserved areas, Benco Family Foundation has truly helped us change the lives of our patients and their respective families.”

– Usama Hamdan, MS, FICS, Co-Founder & President of Global Smile Foundation


What a difference a year can make.

In 2019, Global Smile Foundation (GSF) conducted six missions to four countries: Peru, Ecuador, El Salvador and Lebanon. Their teams of expert medical volunteers had evaluated more than 1,000 patients by mid-November in 2019 to determine the best individual treatment plan for each patient.

Their team shared comprehensive cleft care stats for 2019 with thedailyfloss.com:

  • 358 surgical procedures for 285 patients
  • 3,786 dental procedures for 576 patients
  • 520 speech therapy procedures and sessions, including 144 feeding consultations
  • 126 Psychosocial consultations

Learn how you can support Global Smile Foundation and keep the positive changes happening: visit their website for details.

Butterfly? Magical mentor? Benco Tooth Fairy illuminates preschoolers #NationalToothFairyDay

As the Benco Tooth Fairy took flight after a visit with the Illumination Early Learning Center in Kingston, Pennsylvania, Macklan, one pre-school student asked, “Where did that butterfly go?”

Pat Motyka, a 10-year associate at the nation’s largest independently owned dental distributor, delivers smiles to youngsters throughout the year, but there’s no better time to share a tale of her recent adventures than today — #National Tooth Fairy Day.

Unless it’s during a visit to the dentist, people rarely volunteer details on their toothbrush and floss habits. Not the case with this pre-school class. Sixteen students were more than willing to express their enthusiasm for dental hygiene, as well as a love and admiration for the Benco Dental Tooth Fairy.

Resplendent in white attire and a glittering crown and wings, Pat Motyka, a Tooth Customer Service Specialist at the dental distributor’s home office in Pittston, entered the preschool classroom for a visit last fall.

“Visitors absolutely help the classroom. I think sometimes when the message is conveyed by another person (not the teacher or parent) they truly take it to heart. “

Elizabeth Muller, a teacher at Illumination Early Learning Center

Students intently listened and watched as the Tooth Fairy spoke on the importance of brushing and flossing, and handed out cartoon coloring sheets with a little magical help from Benco Associate Debby Wargo. Her audience jumped to the task when she offered a hands-on experience brushing the teeth of Finn, a plush shark puppet used for dental hygiene demos (shown at top).

Students coloring at Illumination Early Learning Center

Teacher Amy Wall reminisced about her childhood experience with a loose tooth.

“When I was little, I didn’t want to eat an apple because my tooth was loose and wiggly. So I would only eat mashed potatoes and jelly. One day at school I forgot and ate the apple. My tooth was stuck in it and I didn’t even realize it came out. I was a little bit petrified.”

Amy Wall a teacher at Illumination Learning Center

Students rushed to impress Tooth Fairy Pat with their brush and floss routines. An excited young boy raised his hand to explain that his Mommy always tells him to floss his teeth.

Wall said even before the Tooth Fairy arrived, students were excited and trying to guess what she would wear, some asking: “Do you think she’ll have wings?”

Before the Tooth Fairy made her exit for the journey back to Benco, she gifted each child with a take-home package, including a dental kit, stickers and other surprises.

Though new to the Tooth Fairy role, with just a few classroom visits under her wings, Motyka brings 10 years of dental industry experience to her position at Benco Dental.

Benco Tooth Fairy Pat Motyka with students at Illumination Early Learning Center in Kingston, Pennsylvania.

Along with being seen as a role model for many of the children and adding some sparkle to their day, she feels her visits always make an impact.

“A lot of parents don’t tell their kids about dental health — I know mine didn’t. I think it’s important, because that’s the first thing you see when you talk to someone: their teeth. Benco was kind enough to donate tooth gel, toothbrushes, and brushing charts for the dental kit, which will help them.”

Benco Tooth Fairy Pat Motyka

For details or more information, visit benco.com or call 1.800.GO.BENCO.

Benco Family Foundation Schedules Trio of Lessons in a Lunchbox Events for Chicago Schools

Benco Dental’s charitable arm will join the Children’s Oral Health Institute in hosting Lessons in a Lunchbox programs during the 2020 Chicago Dental Society Midwinter Meeting.

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and in celebration, the Benco Family Foundation, together with the Children’s Oral Health Institute, plans to build on their strong relationship with Chicago Public Schools to host three Lessons in a Lunchbox events during this year’s Chicago Dental Society Midwinter Meeting.

Last year, the foundation gifted toothbrushes to every single student, from pre-K to elementary, in all 469 Chicago public schools, so that over 150,000 smiles could have the one basic essential for healthy teeth—something most people take for granted, but that a shocking number of children go without. However, you can’t just put a toothbrush in a child’s hand and walk away. That’s where Lessons in a Lunchbox: Healthy Teeth Essentials & Facts About Snacks comes in. This national oral health and nutrition program reaches underserved elementary school children by offering an ingeniously-shaped holder — a carrot — packaged in a bright orange lunchbox with all the supplies needed for healthy teeth.

This year, the two organizations will present Lessons In A Lunchbox at the following schools:

  • Jackie Robinson Elementary School on Wednesday, 2/19, at 1 p.m., 4225 S. Lake Park Avenue. (773) 535-1777.
  • John Charles Haines Elementary School on Thursday, 2/20, at 1 p.m., 247 West 23rd Place. (773) 534-9200.
  • Oscar DePriest Elementary School on Friday, 2/21, at 1 p.m., 139 S Parkside Avenue.  (773) 534-6800.

Benco Family Foundation representatives will be on hand for the event at John Charles Haines Elementary, and invite members of the media to also attend.

Dr. Winifred J. Booker created Lessons in a Lunchbox over two decades ago and has worked to expand its adoption in her larger role as CEO of the Children’s Oral Health Institute. The program’s cornerstone is the ingeniously crafted, carrot-shaped carrying case designed to teach elementary school children the importance of dental hygiene with information in English, Spanish, and braille. Before children receive their bright lunchboxes of treasures (a plastic carrot filled with a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, and rinse cup) the group follows a prepared lesson plan and enjoys short films about proper brushing and flossing techniques.

The program’s bright orange lunchboxes each contain a plastic carrot complete with toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, and rinse cup.

“As access to care continues to be a challenge for the underserved, prevention is a more important part of our strategy than ever before. Lessons in a Lunchbox makes teaching good oral healthcare and nutrition habits at an early age fun and impactful. The program is valuable to every single student it touches because it helps build better educated and healthier communities.”

Rebecca Binder, Executive Director of the Benco Family Foundation.

Since 2015, the Benco Family Foundation has been helping people across the globe through toothbrush donations with its Buy-One-Give-One program. For every PRO-SYS brand adult tapered or antimicrobial toothbrush purchased, the philanthropic arm of America’s largest family-owned dental distributor donates a toothbrush to someone in need. But the Benco Family Foundation is about much more than toothbrushes. Dedicated to improving the dental health and quality of life in its local communities and around the world, it supports over 100 organizations, delivering innovative dental health solutions through monetary donations, as well as free product, to support dental missions, clinics and organizations. The foundation continually reviews new opportunities to underwrite oral health solutions and community resources that are innovative, sustainable, measurable and impactful.

About Benco Dental

Benco Dental Drives Dentistry Forward℠ through innovative solutions and a caring family culture. Company firsts include CenterPoint design/equipment superstores, OneVisit™ open architecture CAD/CAM, Painless® electronic ordering and automated supply management. Independent since founded by Ben Cohen in 1930, Benco has grown to become the country’s largest family-owned dental distributor. Over 1,400 dedicated associates serve customers at locations coast-to-coast including 400+ sales representatives and 300+ factory-trained service technicians. Benco is one of Fortune’s Best Workplaces in Health Care and Biopharma for three consecutive years, a NAFE Top Company for Executive Women for two consecutive years, and among Pennsylvania Best Places to Work® for 12 of 14 prior years.
For more information, visit benco.com or call 1.800.GO.BENCO.

Though she doesn’t wear a cape, this San Diego dentist is a H.E.R.O to many. #ie40under40

Earning a degree is expensive. Total student loan debt in the U.S. today amounts to $1.52 trillion, according to Forbes. With a financial burden weighing on her shoulders, Dr. Malieka Johnson, DDS, is uncomfortably acquainted with the student loan debt struggle — and that’s why she’s putting a stop to it. Dr. Johnson, raised by […]