You Might Take Yours for Granted, but This Family Can Tell You the Difference a Toothbrush Makes

Feb 12, 2015 4:15 PM ET

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, created by the American Dental Association to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. These Daily Point of Light Award honorees – two sisters – have found a simple way to help others across the globe who live without access to basic oral care. Meet Ashley and Paige Alenick and nominate someone you know as a Point of Light.

We stand over the sink every day and rarely give it a second thought: caring for our teeth. Toothbrushes and toothpaste are only as far away as the nearest convenience store.

But one family in Woodcliff Lake, N.J., has a different perspective on what a toothbrush can mean for someone in need. The Alenicks have helped put more than 150,000 toothbrushes in the hands of people living in 60 developing countries, fostering healthier futures – and brighter smiles – around the world.

Sisters Paige and Ashley Alenick grew up with an appreciation for community service. At ages 7 and 9, respectively, they were the youngest volunteers to participate in a chorus that performs songs from the 1940s for elderly residents at assisted living facilities.

“Our parents taught us the idea that if you have a lot, you should give something back,” Paige says.

The sisters say the idea to collect and redistribute toothbrushes came one day in 2011 when Paige was brushing her teeth. “I thought about it simultaneously as something we take for granted and something others need,” she says.

From there, the Alenicks’ Donate A Toothbrush began to take shape.

Click here for the full story on the Points of Light blog.