Making actionable investments in U.S. communities aligns with Delta Dental's mission of expanding access to oral health care
Oct 29, 2019 | Press Release
OAK BROOK, Ill. — Today, Delta Dental, the nation's largest dental insurance provider, announced that in 2018 the Delta Dental member companies contributed $79 million to programs in communities across the United States to help address the critical need for greater access to oral health care. Highlights from the 2018 contributions include:
"With a commitment to improving lives through better oral health, the Delta Dental member companies' mindful investments throughout the nation focus on how an individual can thrive at the community level," said Steven R. Olson, president and CEO of Delta Dental Plans Association. "The Delta Dental companies regularly assess the best use of resources to address the diverse needs of U.S. communities. Approximately half of their community outreach last year was dedicated to dental treatment initiatives, reflecting Americans' tremendous need for access to oral health care."
Delta Dental's philanthropic efforts continue to make a meaningful difference. The contributions made in 2018 represent a marked rise year over year in the number of community outreach programs and individual beneficiaries being positively impacted. By supporting thousands of programs across the country last year, the Delta Dental companies increased access to oral health care through direct programming and financial support of dental workforce education; treatment to underserved children and adults; and expanded oral health awareness, education and wellness.
"The Delta Dental companies are doing incredible work nationwide in each of their communities. I'm especially proud of the outreach they've done to encourage regular dental check-ups for both children and adults. Such preventive measures are critical to maintaining good oral health and avoiding tooth loss and oral cancer," said Dr. Joe Dill, DDS, MBA, head of dental science at the Delta Dental Institute. "I'm proud to support the leadership role each member company has undertaken to improve their communities. At the Delta Dental Institute, we're shining a spotlight on their work, showing how each community program is an essential piece of the puzzle to improve the oral health of the whole country."
Learn more about our 2018 community benefits activities below:
Oral health education takes center stage
Delta Dental member companies reached out to more than 4.4 million persons for oral health education programs in 2018. An example is the Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation's bringing Captain Supertooth — a live actor — to elementary schools in New Jersey during Children's Dental Health Month in February. The program educates children, specifically pre-K through first grade, about the benefits of good oral hygiene in a fun way.
Learning about brushing and flossing in school is cool with the Delta Dental of Virginia Foundation's SmartSmiles® In School oral health teaching kit. The interactive curriculum was developed with input from teachers and school nurses and is available to all Virginia elementary schools free of charge.
Localized attention addresses dental prevention
Oral health prevention to create healthy smiles is foundational to many of Delta Dental's community benefit efforts. In 2018, more than 4.5 million individuals were served by the Delta Dental companies' dental prevention initiatives, including community water fluoridation, school sealant programs, screenings and in-office fluoride treatments.
One illustration of dental prevention comes from the Delta Dental Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina. The Delta Dental Foundation provides extensive support of a dental sealant program at no cost to families, and has invested $1 million to help prevent tooth decay among elementary-aged children since 2012.
Collaborative initiatives treat underserved Americans
Although tooth decay is more common in children, cavities are also a concern for adults. Through the Delta Dental member companies' community outreach, nearly 1.6 million children and adults received treatments for dental diseases and cavities. For example, the Delta Dental of Oklahoma Foundation continues to co-produce the annual Oklahoma Mission of Mercy. Since 2010, Delta Dental of Oklahoma has given more than $1 million to underwrite the event, thereby ensuring that more than 14,000 Oklahomans in need could receive dental care at no charge.
Another example is Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation's Colorado Medical-Dental Integration Project (CO MDI) to integrate dental hygienists with medical care teams. CO MDI provides preventive oral health care in a familiar setting for patients who have not received care due to difficulties with insurance status, transportation and geographic barriers, or socioeconomic status.
Also in 2018, the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Delta Dental of California and its affiliated companies, supported a multi-operatory mobile dental unit to provide much needed oral care for thousands of underserved residents in the Greater New Orleans region.
Diverse support strengthens outreach efforts
More than 366,000 people benefited from the Delta Dental companies' oral health scientific research support, dental sponsorships, dental workforce education, and non-health-related aid, including help with community hardships such as natural disasters. As an example of a dental sponsorship, the Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation supported the 2018 Special Olympics Healthy Smiles Clinic, offering free dental care for Special Olympics athletes and other individuals with intellectual disabilities. In addition, the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation awarded a $1.5 million grant to the UCLA School of Dentistry for community-based education to expand treatment reach and training.
About Delta Dental Plans Association
Delta Dental Plans Association, based in Oak Brook, Illinois, is the not-for-profit national association of the 39 independent Delta Dental companies. Through these companies, Delta Dental is the nation's largest provider of dental insurance, covering more than 80 million Americans, and offering the country's largest dental network with approximately 156,000 participating dentists. In 2018, Delta Dental companies provided approximately $79 million in direct and in-kind community outreach support to improve the oral health of adults, children and infants in local communities across the country. For more information, visit: deltadental.com.