The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has partnered with the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation to expand the IDPH-administered school-based sealant program. The Foundation provided $170,000 toward a total of $250,000 in grant funding to allow an additional 11 new programs in 35 counties. The dental sealant program expansion is a first step in new IDPH prevention strategies recently funded by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention oral health grant.
The dental sealant program, part of the I-Smile Dental Home Initiative, targets 2nd - 8th graders and includes application of a plastic material to the chewing surfaces of back teeth to protect them from germs and food that can cause cavities. Last year, IDPH sealant programs applied dental sealants to more than 4,500 low-income children.
“Applying these sealants is simple and painless,” said IDPH Dental Director, Dr. Bob Russell. “Even so, many Iowa children don’t have access to this important dental health tool because of income limitations. This expanded grant will allow us to reach even more children.”
“We are pleased to partner with the Iowa Department of Public Health on a program that we believe will impact a large number of Iowa children,” said Jeff Russell, president of the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation. “One of the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation’s long-term strategic goals is that Iowa children ages 0-12 living in households with incomes below 300 percent of the federal poverty level be cavity-free. Because vulnerable populations are less likely to receive dental care, school-based dental sealant programs help achieve optimal disease prevention and result in fewer children with tooth decay.”
The 11 new grantees for the dental sealant program include HCCMS Family Health Services, FAMILY, Inc., Hawkeye Area Community Action Program, Inc. (HACAP), Johnson County Public Health, MATURA North, MATURA South, New Opportunities, Inc., North Iowa Community Action Organization, Taylor County Public Health, Webster County Health Department, and Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa.