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'Hairspray's' Nikki Blonsky Joins Colgate-Palmolive and San Francisco Elementary School Students for Bright Smiles Comedy Showcase

Colgate Dental Van to Provide Students with Free Dental Screenings,

Treatment Referrals and Oral Health Education

SAN FRANCISCO, March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- A national campaign to promote the importance of maintaining good oral health habits drew smiles from more than 300 local elementary school children today as Colgate-Palmolive brought its first ever "Bright Smiles Comedy Showcase" to the Bay Area. The event, which was hosted by Critics Choice Award Winner and Hairspray star Nikki Blonsky, featured an original comedy sketch that used humor to help students understand the importance of maintaining good oral health habits. A Colgate mobile dental van, one of a fleet of eight "clinics on wheels" that the company sponsors around the U.S., was also on hand to provide students with free dental screenings, treatment referrals and oral health education.

In Mommy It Hurts to Chew: The 2006 California Smile Survey, the Dental Health Foundation reported that the oral health of California children was substantially worse than national objectives. Similarly, recent figures from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that the percentage of Americans with untreated tooth decay began rising this decade, reversing a 50-year trend of improvement in dental health.

The Bright Smiles Comedy Showcase is part of a public commitment Colgate's Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program made in 2002 to reach 100 million children in the United States by 2010 with free dental screenings, treatment referrals and oral health education. By the end of 2008, the company will be more than three-quarters of the way to reaching its goal.

Amid a festival of music, balloons and costumed characters, the LaughingStock Comedy Company performed an original improvisational routine that enlisted the student's participation in humorous sketches that highlighted the importance of maintaining good oral health habits. Nikki Blonsky presided over the activities and shared her own thoughts about the power of a smile.

"In show business as well as real life, people base their first impressions upon what they see," Blonsky said. "No matter how old you are or what you look like, there is nothing more welcoming than a smile. A bright, healthy smile can be the beginning of a wonderful friendship or an amazing career, and the neat thing about it is that, with proper care, it's something everyone can have."

Addressing the elected officials, health and educational administrators and community representatives attending the showcase, Dr. Marsha Butler, Colgate's Vice President, Global Oral Health and Professional Relations, explained that oral health disease was making dangerous inroads into urban and rural areas across the country, and that Colgate has made combating the epidemic a major focus not just here in the U.S., but around the world.

"For children between the ages of 5 and 17 in the U.S., tooth decay is more common than asthma, more common than hay fever, and it poses a significant threat to our children's overall health and well-being," Dr. Butler said. "At Colgate, our objective is to work with communities to help reduce and prevent oral health disease, and we are providing children and their families with information and skills to take charge of their dental health. Over the past few years, we've hosted oral health festivals and awareness activities for children from LA to New York. We have a network of eight mobile dental vans that set up clinics in target areas and at cultural events across the United States. Globally, we've also reached out to more than 500 million people in 80 countries, encouraging children to see their dentists and recruiting parents, teachers, and community and professional organizations, to help raise awareness about the importance of maintaining good oral health."

About Colgate-Palmolive

Colgate-Palmolive is a leading global consumer products company, tightly focused on Oral Care, Personal Care, Home Care and Pet Nutrition. Colgate sells its products in over 200 countries and territories around the world under such internationally recognized brand names as Colgate, Palmolive, Mennen, Softsoap, Irish Spring, Protex, Sorriso, Kolynos, Elmex, Ajax, Axion, Soupline, and Suavitel, as well as Hill's Science Diet and Hill's Prescription Diet pet foods. For additional information about Colgate's global business, please visit the Company's web site at

SOURCE Colgate-Palmolive
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