OKEMOS, Mich. — For more than 12 years, the Delta Dental Foundation (DDF) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) have worked together to improve oral health across the state. This year, the DDF is providing $225,000 to support SEAL! Michigan and community water fluoridation programs.
“We want to make good oral health as easy as going to school or turning on the tap,” said Holli Seabury, EdD, executive director of the DDF. “Sealant programs and community water fluoridation are great equalizers when it comes to healthier teeth.”
Dental sealants help prevent tooth decay. The plastic coating seals off the dips and grooves on the top of teeth, preventing bacteria and food from getting caught and causing cavities. SEAL! Michigan offers sealants, dental screenings, fluoride applications and oral health education to elementary and middle school students—all during the school day. During the last school year, SEAL! Michigan provided oral health screenings to 10,269 children and placed sealants on 5,596 of them.
The community water fluoridation funding covers new and replacement equipment to community water suppliers to promote the initiation and continuation of fluoridation across Michigan. Since 2010, this grant has provided support for 65 communities to ensure more than 1.4 million people have access to fluoridated water.
Fluoride works by creating a shield on the tooth’s surface that helps prevent damage from acids created by food and drink. The result is strengthened tooth enamel, which makes cavities less severe, reduces tooth loss, and lessens pain caused by tooth decay. More than 75 years of scientific research has shown that water fluoridation is safe and can help reduce tooth decay by 25% over a person’s lifetime.
“Numerous studies have found improved oral health leads to improved overall health,” said MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. “The continued investments by the Delta Dental Foundation for the SEAL! Michigan and community fluoridation program help prevent tooth decay and improves oral health for Michigan families, particularly among our youngest residents.”
For more information about SEAL! Michigan and community water fluoridation, visit Michigan.gov/OralHealth.