Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation's Dentist By 1 Program Provides Free Dental Care to Illinois Children

Posted on September 24, 2018 in In the Community

Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, in collaboration with its partners, provided free dental care to 83 Illinois children age 5 and younger this summer through its Dentist By 1 program.  Free preventive dental care was provided on July 28 in Peoria and September 8 in Mattoon.

At each event, children received free preventive and diagnostic services like cleanings, exams, fluoride treatments, sealants and X-rays. Preventive education and referrals for additional dental care was provided. Each child also received an oral health kit with floss, a toothbrush, toothpaste and a dental care instructional sheet in English and Spanish.

These events are part of the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation's Dentist By 1 program, which educates caregivers about the benefits of having children visit the dentist by age 1, as well as trains dentists and oral health professionals to help expand access to care.

This year, 68 percent of the children who attended either event had never been to the dentist before, and 10 percent of the children showed signs of tooth decay. Additionally, children in Illinois don't see their family dentist on average until they are nearly 2 ½ years old.1 Establishing good oral health habits early and visiting the dentist by age 1 can help set the foundation for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

“According to a recent statewide oral health assessment we conducted, about 22 percent of Illinois third-graders have tooth decay,” said Lora Vitek, director of philanthropy and community relations, Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation. “Although preventable, tooth decay is one of the most prevalent diseases among children and can appear as soon as teeth emerge. Our Dentist By 1 program works to prevent and eliminate this disease by educating caregivers on the importance of good dental habits, encouraging dental visits by age 1 and providing free dental care to young children. We hope this program will have a positive effect on Illinois children and their families and will result in improved oral health throughout the state.”

The Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation Dentist By 1 event was held in collaboration with the Peoria City/County Health Department, Illinois Central College and Ultradent Products, Inc. on July 28 and Lake Land College on September 8. Both events were supported by Crest/Oral-B®.  For more information about the Dentist By 1 program, visit

12018 Delta Dental of Illinois Children's Oral Health Survey