Building Brighter Futures

Delta Dental of Ohio’s Building Brighter Futures initiative is designed to improve the oral and overall health and well-being of children and adults through advocacy, education and philanthropy. At the core of this initiative are seven public policy priorities upon which much of our work is based.

One major focus of Building Brighter Futures is improving children’s oral health and school success, and we have developed and continue to 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 Ohio 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 McMillen Health to produce and promote Brush!—a 52-week literacy based preschool oral health program to preschool students, teachers and families.
  • A partnership with Reach Out and Read in Ohio which provides children and parents with oral health story books and information during well-child visits to the doctor.
  • Funding for the purchase of a new mobile dental coach for The Ohio State University’s Dental H.O.M.E. program which provides dental care to Columbus-area school children.

Startling statisticsExclamation point icon

  • 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.

Looking for educational resources? Visit our Educational Materials page today!

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, “Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General (Executive Summary),” web.
National Center for Education Statistics, “The Nation’s Report Card: Reading,” 2002, 2009 and 2011, web.
America’s Promise Alliance, “Building a Grad Nation Report,” 2012, web.
Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, “Poor Oral Health Can Mean Missed School, Lower Grades,” web.