A beautiful smile can be a powerful tool, boosting confidence and brightening the world around us. However, for many individuals who cannot afford proper dental care, achieving that radiant smile can be an unattainable dream.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), oral diseases, while largely preventable, pose a major health burden for many countries and affect people throughout their lifetime, causing pain, discomfort, disfigurement and even death. It is estimated that oral diseases affect nearly 3.5 billion people.
Fortunately, there are amazing dental charities dedicated to making a difference in people’s lives by providing free or low-cost dental services to those in need. From providing dental care to underserved communities to offering crucial oral health resources, these charities are making a significant impact in people’s lives.
Here are 15 of the best ones:
America’s Dentists Care Foundation (ADCF) is a non-profit organization that was established in 2008. It came about primarily for the purpose of addressing the oral health needs of vulnerable populations across all states within the United States.
The foundation mainly practiced through its flagship program known as Mission of Mercy (MOM). MOM is a huge dental clinic that provides free services in dental to the uninsured, underinsured, or unable patients to afford dental care. To date, ADCF-supported clinics have provided 275,000 patients with nearly $190 million in charitable oral health care.
To support ADCF and get involved in their mission to improve oral health access for underserved communities, you can donate directly through the website via PayPal, or send by mail.
Dentaid is another famous UK-based dental charity. They’ve been around since 1996, and they’re on a mission to make oral health better all over the world. Their main aim is to give access to dental care to vulnerable residents who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get it.
The work of Dentaid encompasses various initiatives aimed at promoting oral health and providing treatment and education. Some of their key projects include: mobile dental units, training programs, and donating dental equipment.
One of their standout initiatives is BrightBites, an education scheme that focuses on kids and young people. Volunteers from Dentaid go out into schools and give super engaging presentations about oral health. They cover everything from how to brush your teeth like a pro to why sugar can be really bad news for those pearly whites. They even talk about the importance of regular dental check-ups so you can catch any problems early on.
If you want to support Dentaid’s important work, you can make donations through their website via Apple Pay, organize a fundraiser, donate equipment, or volunteer.
The New York State Dental Foundation (NYSDF) is a non-profit membership association established in 1980 whose mission and purpose is to improve oral health within New York State through the support of initiatives designed to educate, research and increase access for dental care.
One of their standout initiatives is the Give Kids A Smile program. Now, this program is a game-changer for kids from low-income families who don’t have easy access to dental care. Besides, they go above and beyond by educating families about the importance of dental hygiene too. It’s not just about fixing immediate problems; it’s about promoting long-term oral health.
To contribute to the NYSDF’s efforts, you can make a tax-deductible donation directly through their website via credit card or through fundraising events, such as #GivingToothday Campaign organized by the foundation.
TeamSmile is a non-governmental organization in charge of facilitating and improving the quality of oral health. Since 2007, the organization has worked with professional sports teams, offering them free dental care as well as providing education on disease prevention among children belonging to different communities.
TeamSmile partners with a sporting ground to organize dental health events. They put up full-service dental clinics at the stadium and will call together local dentists so that kids in need can be treated up.
The TeamSmile charity has partnered with the Kansas City Chiefs NFL team as an example of their impact. They have been working together since 2007 and have helped over 30,000 children attend these annual dental health events. Thanks to TeamSmile, these kids are now able to ditch the pain, get the treatments they need, and improve their overall wellness.
If you wish to support TeamSmile’s mission and make a difference in the lives of underserved children, you can donate directly through their website via PayPal or credit card. Alternatively, you can participate in fundraising events or volunteer their services at upcoming events.
The Louisiana Dental Association Foundation (LDAF) is a non-profit membership organization formed by the Louisiana Dental Association (LDA). The foundation exists to advance oral health for residents of Louisiana in order to give them access to dental care and education options.
LDAF engages in various philanthropic activities that are in consonance with its mandate. They hold events that offer free dental services to poor communities in the state. Apart from all this, they support oral health education programs, fund research projects, and partner with other organizations for the promotion of oral health awareness.
To donate or get involved with the Louisiana Dental Association Foundation, you can visit their website and make a donation via PayPal or credit/debit card. Additionally, you can write a check or donate via phone.
Charitable Smiles is a non-profit, 501©(3) approved dental charity based in Noblesville, Indiana. The organization helps people who cannot afford oral care by getting them paired with participating dentists that volunteer their chair time.
Charitable Smiles allows dental healthcare providers to take on more pro-bono work for patients who are otherwise unable to afford treatment. Providers can volunteer chair time, but they still run up other expenses for materials and appliances. Charitable Smiles helps see if providers nominate patients in need of help with those extra costs.
To support Charitable Smiles and get involved in their mission, you can make monetary donations directly through their website via credit/debit card or PayPal. Additionally, if you are a dentist willing to provide pro-bono services or a patient seeking affordable dental care, you can register on their platform and connect with others accordingly.
America’s ToothFairy, also known as the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation, is a non-governmental organization that was established in 2006. It works to foster accessing oral health care and education for children belonging to vulnerable communities in the United States of America.
They work tirelessly to bring educational programs, preventive services, and even funding for dental treatment to those who need it most. They team up with dental professionals, community organizations, schools, and a bunch of volunteers to deliver these critical services to kids in need.
America’s ToothFairy has already given over $23.5 million worth of donated dental products and equipment, educational materials, and financial grants to non-profit dental clinics and community partners. More than 8.6 million children have benefited from the oral health care and education provided by these clinics.
If you wish to contribute to America’s ToothFairy mission and vision, you can make one-time or monthly donations through their website via credit card. Additionally, you can volunteer, visit their shop and buy goods, spread awareness, or fundraise.
The Smiles For Life Foundation was established in 1998 and is a charitable organization that has garnered close to $40 million for worthy causes. It evolved out of the noble cause to improve the oral health of underprivileged children across the globe through charitable dental care, education, as well as community outreach programs.
Ultradent, the company behind Boost in-office teeth whitening and Opalescence® take-home trays, makes a contribution to this charity. They donate all the teeth whitening supplies while dentists from the Crown Council give their precious time to whiten teeth during the Smiles For Life campaign. The result is professional teeth whitening at a heavily discounted price (donation), with every single penny going straight to supporting kids’ charities.
To support Smiles For Life Foundation’s initiatives, you can make a donation directly on their website. The foundation also hosts an annual charity campaign where participating dentists provide teeth whitening treatments at a discounted rate, with all proceeds going toward helping children in need.
The Dental Lifeline Network (DLN) is a national charity organization established in 1974 with the main motive of providing access to dental care and oral wellness teaching for vulnerable categories like aged individuals, disabled ones, as well as medically fragile people. DLN serves its customers with a direct service network program on a national scale with 15,000 volunteer dentists and 3,400 volunteer labs.
DLN runs all kinds of programs to make sure everyone gets the care they need. One of their initiatives is called Donated Dental Services (DDS). Basically, patients in need are paired with volunteer dentists who provide top-notch dental treatment for free. They have special programs just for veterans, people with disabilities, and those dealing with chronic illnesses.
If you want to get involved or donate to DLN’s cause, individuals can visit their website or and make one-time or monthly payments via credit card. Alternatively, you can volunteer as a dentist or donate lab supplies.
The Oral Health Foundation is a UK-based charity that was formed in 1971 as the British Dental Health Foundation. It was mainly created to create awareness about oral health and propagate good dental hygiene practices across the country.
The Oral Health Foundation does numerous initiatives to achieve its mission. They offer dental health information resources, run oral health campaigns, operate an online platform with dental advice and information, and even offer a free Dental Helpline for expert advice.
Another good example of how the Oral Health Foundation impacts people is its National Smile Month campaign, which they conduct every single year. They hail individuals to take care of their oral health and, at the same time, shed light on some important issues connected with tooth decay, gum disease, and mouth cancer. Through this campaign, they reach millions of people each year and encourage positive behavioral changes.
To support the Oral Health Foundation’s work, you can make one-off or regular payments directly through their website via credit card or Apple Pay. Besides, you can participate in fundraising activities such as sponsored events or corporate partnerships or volunteer.
The World Health Dental Organization (WOHD) is a non-profit world organization that works for the benefit of oral health. WOHD mainly focuses on raising people’s awareness about the need to practice good oral hygiene, such as using your toothbrush at least twice daily and having regular dental checkups.
They work towards reducing the burden of oral diseases by organizing events like World Oral Health Day (WOHD), which is celebrated annually on 20 March. WOHD focuses its efforts on stressing the importance of optimum oral health through several campaigns, educative materials, and community outreach.
WOHD’s Maasai Dental Clinic is the flagship clinic whose establishment in 2009 treats around 4,000 members of the Maasai community every year. The clinic is within a world-famous Maasai Mara National Game Park in Kenya, East Africa.
#12. Filling the Gap
Filling the Gap is a charitable dental organization and the charity arm of the Australian Dental Association New South Wales (ADA NSW). The organization works to improve vulnerable people’s health and quality of life together with their poor oral health through pro bono dental treatment, education programs, and advocacy.
Over the past two years, their network of volunteers provided pro bono dental treatment to 900 patients over 1300 dental appointments and provided dental service worth more than $800,000.
Filling the Gap works with charities to offer dentistry treatment for those who need it, such as refugees and asylum seekers, victims of domestic violence, women and men who are staying in hostels, and people recovering from addiction.
You can make a donation through the GiveNow account to support Filling the Gap’s work and contribute towards improving oral health access for disadvantaged communities. Besides, you can volunteer, host a fundraising event, donate gifts in kind, or start a partnership.
#13. Global Dental Relief
Global Dental Relief (GDR) is a non-profit organization founded in 2001 with the goal of bringing dental care and education on oral health to children in disadvantaged communities all around the world.
GDR conducts and manages international dental clinics in countries like Nepal, Guatemala, Kenya, and Cambodia, among many more. Such clinics are normally held inside schools or community centers where volunteer dental professionals provide free dental treatments, which include cleanings, fillings, extractions, as well as oral health education.
In these six countries since 2001, GDR volunteers have served more than 193,000 children with $40.1 million in donated dental care. For many children, GDR volunteers provide the first dental care and oral health education of their young lives.
To support GDR’s endeavors and make a difference in the lives of underserved children worldwide, you can donate directly through their website via credit card or transfer secutrities/donor-advised funds. Additionally, GDR offers opportunities for volunteering as dentists, hygienists, assistants, or non-medical volunteers to help with tasks like sterilization or patient coordination during their trips abroad.
Bridge2Aid is a UK dental charity that emerged in 2004 with the aim of supplying sustainable dental care to communities across East Africa.
Bridge2Aid is training local healthcare workers in simple dental skills. This includes mainly clinical officers and nurses. Through this, they are able to empower local healthcare providers to diagnose and cure common dentino problems within the communities.
An example of the impact Bridge2Aid has is its Dental Volunteer Programme. Every year, they recruit volunteer dental professionals who spend two weeks working alongside local health workers in rural areas of Tanzania. Through this program, they have treated thousands of patients and provided much-needed skills training to local healthcare providers.
If you want to support Bridge2Aid’s work and get involved, you can make donations (one-time, monthly, quarterly, annual) directly through their website using credit/debit cards. Additionally, they offer fundraising resources, ability to join Bridge2Aid Challenge, volunteer, leave a gift, or become a corporate or practice supporter.
The Smiles For Everybody Foundation was established in 2011 with a primary focus on spreading smiles to every single person. They are committed to providing access to basic dental care and education for marginalized populations across the world.
The foundation partners with dental practitioners, volunteers as well as organizations in setting up mobile health clinics that travel through various communities. Such services offered include cleanings, fillings, extractions, and even more complex procedures like root canals and dentures.
The Smiles for Everybody Foundation has delivered more than 26,000 smiles since 2011 and $19 million in donated dentistry. The foundation broke its own record on a grand scale in 2020 when it provided an amount of $5 million worth of dental services.
You can donate to Smiles For Everyone Foundation through their website by making a monetary contribution or by donating dental supplies. Additionally, individuals can volunteer as dentists, hygienists, or general volunteers for their clinics and events.