We also know that oral health is directly linked to improved academic success. That’s why educating our children early on about good oral health habits is so important.
Over 51 million hours of school are missed each year because of oral health issues and tooth decay continues to be the number one most common chronic childhood illness.
Many of these issues can easily be prevented with proper oral health care and daily brushing and flossing.
Each year, the Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation works to expand oral health and prevention programs in public elementary schools and early childhood centers across the state through our school based mini grant program.
Our funding is part of an ongoing statewide effort to improve oral health education and intervention in the schools.
In 2008, Arkansas ranked 50th in the nation in the ratio of dentists per 100,000 population.1 With half of the existing dental workforce nearing retirement age within the next 10 years, the Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation supports dental education programs to help ensure that Arkansas has enough dentists to provide care.
Because Arkansas does not currently have an in-state dental school, the Foundation committed $1.5 million to the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry (UT) and $600,000 to the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry (LSU) to renovate their facilities. These renovations make it possible for fifteen more Arkansas students to attend UT and six others to attend LSU each year.
We also offer statewide scholarships to support students entering dentistry professions, including dental assistants and hygienists.
The Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation helped establish the UAMS General Practice Residency Program. The residents work to support medical and dental integration programs as a way to combine the delivery of oral health and primary care services that is more efficient, patient-centered and has the potential to provide affordable, quality health care to residents.
The Foundation also funded a pilot pediatric dental residency program in conjunction with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Dentistry graduate program in pediatric dentistry and Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH).
The program allowed UTHSC residents to gain clinical experience in providing dental treatment to pediatric patients and encouraged them to practice dentistry in Arkansas.