Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton teamed up with a South Florida dental group to provide more than 100 elementary students withÂ free dental care.
Spodak Dental Group, of Delray Beach, Florida, shut down their offices on Oct. 28 so they could perform cleaning, extractions and other procedures.
âThe number one reason a child would go to the emergency room, the number one reason a child will miss school is because of a dental pain, or dental disease, so it's an epidemic,â Dr. Craig Spodak told WPTV.
Many of the children receiving care that day had never been to the dentist before. So Stanton and fellow Marlin AJ Ramos wanted to make sure that first dental appointment would be comfortable and fun. The players talked to children and even handed out stuffed animals during the event.
âWe'll do anything to make it special for them and make them want to come back and not fear that terrible time at the dentist,â Stanton said. His ultimate goal is to create healthy habits in children that will carry on into adulthood.
Stanton's passion for children and their dental care stems from his own childhood experience. He admitted to having hadÂ dental issues as a child, andÂ wants to help prevent other children from experiencing the same struggle.
Stanton met Spodak when a pitch hit him in the face during the 2014 baseball season. That pitch to the face required dental surgery. After theirÂ chance meeting, Stanton partnered with Spodak to create the All Star Smile Foundation.
The foundation hopes to organize many more events like the one they hosted inÂ South Florida. Spodak is working with his network of dentists to get moreÂ offices across the United States involved.
For this event, Stanton personally paid for most of the dental work. But the foundation is securing its 501(c)(3) non-profit status and is collecting donations to expand the program. For more information, click here.