6 ways to spread smiles in your community

When we choose to give to others, we feel more abundant in return. Performing acts of kindness brings us more happiness and better health, according to research shared by the Greater Good Science Center.

Americans gave $428 billion in charity nationwide in 2018, according to the National Philanthropic Trust. No matter your personal financial situation, money isn’t the only meaningful way to give back. Children and families also need food, clothing, books and toys. Some of the most overlooked health items include toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss.

Did you know that the U.S. Surgeon General has called tooth decay in our nation a “silent epidemic”? Dental problems can cause missed school and work, loss of productivity, trouble concentrating and lower grades.

Approximately 47,600,000 Americans are not getting access to necessary dental care, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. That means that more than 15% of the population is underserved when it comes to oral health care, including millions of children.

The good news? You can make a difference! Here are some ways to give back in your community:


Donate toothbrushes, fluoride toothpaste, mouthwash and floss to shelters for those in need.


Help stock your local food pantry with items like canned veggies, nuts and powdered milk.


Offer to help a family member or neighbor get to the grocery store.


Cook a healthy meal for someone who could use a friendly gesture.



Give books to a local library or school to help teach kids about the importance of health and wellness.


Volunteer to take seniors from a local assisted living facility to their dental appointments.

Did you know? Delta Dental of California and its affiliates are actively helping communities across the country. Here are the numbers:


causes supported in 2018 by Delta Dental of California employees through Smiling It Forward, our first formal employee volunteer and giving program. 


donated in 2018 to nationwide programs that help improve oral health, expand access to dental care, prevent dental disease and provide education about the oral-overall health connection.

If you or someone you know needs free or low-cost dental care, check with a local community health center or dental association. Remember that giving back and helping one another not only spreads joy and happiness, it allows you to make a real difference in your community.