Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation Brings oral health education to more than 600 schools across the state
50,000 first-graders benefit from the 2017 Smiles@School program
MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. – Fifty thousand first-grade students across Minnesota received oral health education in their classrooms this fall as part of Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation’s Smiles@School program. In partnership with more than 600 schools, the program included presentations on oral health from dental care providers. Each student received backpacks filled with tools to help them care for their teeth, including toothbrushes, toothpaste, water bottles, educational booklets, and other fun items. Additionally, an estimated 4,000 at-risk students received in-school dental sealants and fluoride, which have been shown to prevent tooth decay.
“Despite easy prevention, 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. “School-based programs are a proven method of delivering important information during critical habit-forming years. We’re grateful to our community partners and local teachers who help instill these healthy habits early.”
Half of Minnesota’s third-graders have experienced tooth decay, which disproportionately affects children from low-income families and makes concentrating on learning difficult. Nationally, more than 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental disease. The Smiles@School program offers oral health education to Minnesota first-graders, prevention education to second-graders, and measures oral health improvements for third-graders. The goal of the program is to eliminate tooth decay in school-age children. For a full list of participating schools, visit Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation’s website.
About Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation:
In 2009, Delta Dental of Minnesota’s parent sold a company and used 100 percent of the proceeds to establish and fund Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation. Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation supports Delta Dental of Minnesota’s mission of improving the health of Minnesotans through oral health. Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation works to expand access to dental care for Minnesota’s underserved populations across the state by primarily investing in programs and organizations that provide dental care to people in need. Since 2011, the foundation has invested more than $25 million in grants to nearly 70 programs and organizations that provide care and promote oral health.