Delta Dental of Indiana

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Startling Statistics


The most common chronic childhood disease is tooth decay.


Students miss 51 million hours of school per year due to oral health problems.


Only 34 percent of America’s fourth-graders read at or above grade level.

Students who are absent miss critical instruction time, especially in early grades when reading skills are a focus.

Students who don’t read at grade level by fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of school than students who do.

Students who have experienced recent oral health pain are four times more likely to have lower grade point averages than their counterparts who have not.

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Brighter Futures

Delta Dental of Indiana's Brighter Futures initiative is designed to improve the oral and overall health and well-being of children and adults through advocacy, education and philanthropy.

One major focus of Brighter Futures is on improving children’s oral health and school success, and we have developed and support a variety of programs and organizations that address these issues including:

  • A partnership with Think TV/PBS to promote good oral health through a series of 15-second children’s oral health spots which promote good oral health and reading. These spots air every day during children’s morning programming in all Indiana PBS markets.
  • A school adoption program with Blessings in a Backpack, a national organization dedicated to ensuring that children in need receive food on the weekends throughout the school year.
  • The “Rethink Your Drink” campaign which serves to educated children and adults on the health consequences of drinking sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • The “From Drool to School” book and brochure to educate parents and caregivers on how to take care of children’s teeth from pre-birth through elementary school.
  • A partnership with the McMillen Health to:
  • Develop and promote Brush!—a 52-week literacy based preschool oral health program to preschool students, teachers and families.
  • Produce and stage "I Need My Teeth," a children's oral health musical production for elementary-age children in Indiana which focuses on the importance of good oral health and how to take care of your teeth.
Through these strategic partnerships and programs, Delta Dental looks to bring brighter futures to thousands of children and their families throughout Indiana.

Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General—Executive Summary. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, 2000.

U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2002, 2009, and 2011 Reading Assessments.

Alliance for Excellent Education, America’s Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises, Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University. Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic. Annual Update, March 2012.

Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC. Poor Oral Health Can Mean Missed School, Lower Grades. August 2012.