2012 Foundation Recap
2012 was an exciting year for the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation. New partnerships were forged, continued projects had a successful year, and we kicked off a new community grants program in which we funded 10 organizations seeking to enhance children's oral health resources and programs.
The Foundation believes that oral health education helps further our mission. Because childhood is the time when good oral health habits begin and healthy teeth develop, we have programs that focus on children's oral health education. For example, our Land of Smiles program is a free and fun children's program that helps fill this need. Land of Smiles is focused on teaching students in grades Pre-K to 3rd grade about healthy dental habits and the importance of clean teeth.
Here are a few highlights from the 2012 Land of Smiles Program:
• More than 200,000 Illinois children have received the Land of Smiles presentation since 2006.
• More than 120 schools in Illinois hosted the Land of Smiles program.
• More than 28,000 pre-kindergarten through third grade students heard our oral health message and received oral health kits that included a toothbrush, floss, toothpaste and dental hygiene tips. This is nearly a 10 percent increase in the number of children served from the previous year.
• The majority of teachers – 90% – reported their expectations were exceeded when asked if they were satisfied with the tools, information and resources from the Land of Smiles program.
• Students in pre-kindergarten through first grades were satisfied with the Land of Smiles program with 93.1 percent of children reporting, “I enjoyed the presentation” and 82.6 percent of students reporting they learned something new during the program.
• Students in second and third grades were also very satisfied with the Land of Smiles program with 90.8 percent of children reporting having “liked or mostly liked” the presentation.
In addition to Land of Smiles, the Foundation also launched a program aimed at improving infant oral health. In Illinois, children don't see their family dentist until they are 3½, even though it is recommended that a child should go to the dentist within 6 months of getting their first tooth, and no later than age 1. Dentist By 1 was developed to raise awareness of this important discrepancy.
We're proud to report that the Foundation has work aggressively to fulfill its mission of improving oral health for residents of Illinois, especially Illinois children. If you would like to help, please contact Lora Vitek.