Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation brings oral health education to classrooms across the state
Nearly 50,000 Minnesota students at more than 600 schools to benefit from 2018 Smiles@School program
MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. – Approximately 50,000 backpacks filled with fun oral health items are being distributed to more than 600 Minnesota schools as part of Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation’s Smiles@School program. The program provides first-graders across Minnesota with tools to help them care for their teeth, including a toothbrush, fluoridated toothpaste, a water bottle, an educational booklet, and other fun items. The program also involves dental experts providing sealants and fluoride treatments to roughly 4,000 at-risk second-graders in schools across Minnesota.
The three-pronged Smiles@School program offers oral health education to Minnesota first-graders, preventive care to second-graders at schools with high rates of poverty, and plans to assess the oral health of third-graders in a 2020 survey led by the Minnesota Department of Health. The goal of the program is to get kids on the right track for maintaining lifelong healthy smiles.
“Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease – even more common than asthma or allergies,” said Joe Lally, Executive Director of Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation. “Half of Minnesota’s third-graders have experienced tooth decay, which disproportionately affects children from low-income families and makes concentrating on learning difficult. Through the Smiles@Schools program, we are proud to deliver oral health education and treatments at an important stage of a child’s life.”
Nationally, kids lose more than 51 million school hours each year due to dental disease. Click here to see a full list of participating Smiles@School schools.