Health Department receives grant from Delta Dental

Western Upper Peninsula Health Department received a $1,500 grant from Delta Dental Foundation to purchase dental fluoride rinse supplies for elementary school children in the western U.P. The Delta Dental grant will enable the health department to continue its U.P. Wide Smiles campaign begun in 2015.

The U.P. Wide Smiles Oral Health Initiative was developed through a grant from the Superior Health Foundation. Under that program, U.P. health departments helped elementary schools institute weekly fluoride rinse programs to prevent tooth decay.

The Upper Peninsula has the highest rate of dental caries (cavities) of any region in Michigan, in part because most communities do not have fluoridated water systems. Weekly fluoride rinsing in grades K-6 has been proven to reduce cavities by more up to one-third. Even children who drink fluoridated water or take fluoride tablets benefit from topical rinses, because the ingested fluoride strengthens adult teeth forming below the gums, while the rinse protects the surfaces of current teeth.

Delta Dental Foundation is focused on ensuring that children and adults in Michigan receive high-quality oral health education and high-quality dental care. Through its Brighter Futures initiative, Delta Dental is committed to improving people’s oral and overall health and well-being through advocacy, education, and philanthropy.

“Tooth decay is the country’s most common chronic childhood disease today, and children miss 51 million hours of school each year because of dental-related issues,” said Teri Battagleri, Delta Dental Foundation director. “Because prevention is key to avoiding serious oral health problems, we’re helping Western U.P. Health Department reach more children and provide them with better access to fluoride rinse and education about the importance of good oral health.”

For more information on the dental rinse program offered to elementary schools in the Western U.P., contact Bonnie Morley at Western U.P. Health Department (906)482-7382 ext. 135.