The most common chronic childhood disease is tooth decay.
School-aged children will miss 51 million hours of school per year due to oral-health problems.
Only 34 percent of America’s fourth-graders read at or above grade level.
Children who aren’t reading proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than more proficient readers.
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Delta Dental’s Brighter Futures is a major philanthropic endeavor that focuses on children’s oral health, overall health and literacy, and it has the potential to transform the lives of children across Michigan.
With a strong desire to improve the well-being of children through improved oral health and education, Delta Dental of Michigan has established a statewide, ongoing commitment to our kids not just by reaching out through the dental chair, but by going into the classroom.
Major components of the Brighter Futures initiative over the year included:
A partnership with the National Education Association’s Read Across America which will bring quality children’s oral-health books and materials into schools and offer grants to support school media centers.
The “Sink Your Teeth into a Good Book” program during National Reading Month, March 2013, emphasizing the importance of reading and oral health within the classroom.
A school-adoption program with Blessings in a Backpack, a national organization dedicated to ensuring that elementary school children receive food on the weekends throughout the school year.
The “Drool is Cool” video series focusing on important oral health and overall health-related topics for children and parents.
A “From Drool to School” program, an educational program that includes materials, activities and a video that focus on oral health for children pre-birth through elementary school.
A public policy collaboration designed to engage state legislators in the creation and distribution of children’s oral-health backpacks for use by teachers in their classrooms and districts.
Through these strategic partnerships and programs, Delta Dental looks to bring brighter futures to thousands of children and their families throughout Michigan.
Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General—Executive Summary. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, 2000.
U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2002, 2009, and 2011 Reading Assessments.
Alliance for Excellent Education, America’s Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises, Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University. Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic. Annual Update, March 2012.