Delta Dental Outreach Totals $79 Million in 2018

Dentistry Today


Delta Dental contributed $79 million in direct and in-kind community outreach in 2018, assisting 11 million people with their oral health through 1,700 programs across the country, according to the company.

“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 the Delta Dental Plans Association.

“The Delta Dental companies regularly assess the best use of resources to address the diverse needs of US communities. Approximately half of their community outreach last year was dedicated to dental treatment initiatives, reflecting Americans’ tremendous need for access to oral healthcare,” said Olson. 

The contributions made in 2018 represent a marked rise year over year in the number of community outreach programs and individual beneficiaries, Delta Dental reports. According to the company, these donations increased access to oral healthcare 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 checkups for both children and adults. Such preventive measures are critical to maintaining good oral health and avoiding tooth loss and oral cancer,” said 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,” said Dill.

Delta Dental member companies reached out to more than 4.4 million people for oral health education programs in 2018. For example, the Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation brought Captain Supertooth to elementary schools during Children’s Dental Health Month in February. The program educates children, specifically those in pre-kindergarten through first grade, about the benefits of good oral hygiene in a fun way.

Meanwhile, the Delta Dental of Virginia Foundation’s SmartSmiles In School oral health teaching kit and interactive curriculum was developed with input from teachers and school nurses. It is available to all Virginia elementary schools free of charge.

Delta Dental also says that 4.5 million people were served by its dental prevention initiatives in 2018, including community water fluoridation, school sealant programs, screenings, and in-office fluoride treatments. In fact, the Delta Dental Foundation provides extensive support of a dental sealant program at no cost to families, investing $1 million to help prevent tooth decay among elementary-aged children since 2012, the company says.

Plus, nearly 1.6 million children and adults received treatment for dental diseases and cavities through the company’s community outreach programs, Delta Dental says. The Delta Dental of Oklahoma Foundation has coproduced the annual Oklahoma Mission of Mercy since 2010, providing more than $1 million to underwrite the event and ensure that more than 14,000 state residents could receive dental care at no charge.

The Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation’s Colorado Medical-Dental Integration Project integrates dental hygienists with medical care teams. It provides preventive oral healthcare 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 care for thousands of underserved residents in the greater New Orleans region.

Finally, more than 366,000 people benefitted from Delta Dental’s 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 part of this outreach, 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. Also, the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation awarded a $1.5 million grant to the UCLA School of Dentistry for community-based education to expand research and training.

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