Through Delta Dental of Wisconsin Foundation’s Cool Water Program, elementary and middle schools in the state will be able to apply for a grant to replace an existing water fountain with a new water bottle filling station and fountain. The grant will cover the cost of the full installation and provide toothbrushes and dishwasher-safe water bottles for all students and staff.
The foundation notes that fluoridated water is essential in keeping teeth strong and cavity-free. Also, water washes away harmful bacteria from the mouth, and fluoride strengthens enamel. Drinking water can help combat obesity and tooth decay by providing an alternative to sugary beverages, increase energy levels, and improve students’ cognitive functions. Plus, one out of every five third-grade students in Wisconsin has some form of untreated decay.
“The Cool Water Program hopes to help change that landscape here in Wisconsin,” said Megan Tenpas, community outreach specialist for the Delta Dental of Wisconsin Foundation.
To be considered, schools must be in communities with optimally fluoridated water and have a free-and-reduced meal rate of 40% or higher. Schools with the most creative and impactful implementation plans that will encourage students and staff to drink more water will receive one of the available grants.
Applications will be available through March 31. Schools will be selected and awarded the grants in April, with installation planned for the summer. Anyone can submit a request on behalf of their school, but the school’s principal must agree to the application and commitment.