A healthy smile knows no bounds

Discover how the following four featured Delta Dental Foundation programs make oral health important at every age.

Serving healthy smiles

In the third year of our lively Serving Smiles to Seniors program, 371 mid-Michigan senior citizens enjoyed lunch, presentations and oral health bingo, compliments of the Delta Dental Foundation.

New in 2018, registered dental hygienists and dietitians helped drive home the oral health message by providing dental screenings, and oral health and nutrition presentations. Partners on this project included Smiles on Wheels, the Michigan Office of Retirement Services and the Tri-County Office on Aging.

Seniors left the events with dental kits, prizes and smiles.

Choosing change

Teenagers at Mount Clemens Middle/High School in Michigan are taking part in a pilot program designed to help low-income students make long-term lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of chronic conditions including obesity, Type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.

The I Choose Health program is a partnership between the Greater Detroit Area Health Coalition, Henry Ford Hospital Macomb and the Delta Dental Foundation. Students in the
program attend 16 weeks of classes focused on making healthy choices, setting goals, reducing stress and developing good eating habits.

Following the classroom sessions, students meet weekly for an additional 16 weeks to practice their healthy habits. Activities include visits to farmers markets, cooking classes, and hiking and biking on local trails. Special parent nights are designed to reinforce what students are learning and to provide families with resources to make longlasting changes at home.

Connecting brushing and reading

The Delta Dental Foundation expanded its partnership with Reach Out and Read in 2018 to help even more young children and families learn about the importance of developing good brushing and reading habits at a young age.

Children ages 6 months to 5 years who are seen for a well-child visit receive an oral health storybook while the pediatrician discusses the importance of developing early reading skills and practicing good brushing habits at home.

The foundation has committed nearly $175,000 to Reach Out and Read since 2015, and the program is now at 14 clinic sites in Ohio and four in Michigan, reaching about 15,000 children annually.

“I really like the reading and brushing logs given with the books because they give me the opportunity to get patients and parents invested in literacy and oral health by = being able to track their progress,” says Zenar Yohannes, M.D., of Dayton Children’s Pediatrics in Dayton, Ohio. “I have also had several parents ask for additional charts for siblings!”

I really like the reading and brushing logs given with the books because they give me the opportunity to get patients and parents invested in literacy and oral health by being able to track their progress.

—Zenar Yohannes, M.D., of Dayton Children’s Pediatrics in Dayton, Ohio

Joining the Smile Squad

More than 12,000 Girl Scouts across Michigan, Ohio and Indiana learned about good oral health in 2018 by participating in the Delta Dental Foundation’s Smile Squad patch program.

To earn their Smile Squad Girl Scout patch, girls and their troop leaders used creativity and scouting skills to learn how the mouth links to overall health and well-being.

Girls chose from a variety of activities including science experiments, field trips, nutrition, reading and good oral health habits. The foundation provided all program materials—and the patches—at no cost to the participating troops.