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THE DELTA DENTAL FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES ORAL HEALTH EDUCATION INITIATIVE GRANT RECIPIENTS

- Grant Offered to New Jersey's Abbott School Districts and Charter Schools to Raise Oral Health Awareness Among Underserved Children -

PARSIPPANY, NJ (September 15, 2008)

In an effort to reinforce the importance of oral health education all school year long, the Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation offered its second annual Oral Health Education Initiative Grant to elementary schools, including Charter Schools, in New Jersey’s Abbott school districts, to initiate an oral health education program in their third-grade classes for the 2008-2009 school year. Five schools have been chosen to receive a grant of up to $5,000 to fund the programs. The selected schools include: Norman S. Weir Elementary School in Paterson, Lady Liberty Academy in Newark, Environment Community Opportunity Charter School in Camden, North Main Street Elementary in Pleasantville, and Joseph Stokes Memorial Elementary School in Trenton. Additionally, Keansburg Elementary School, a 2007-2008 grantee, has been awarded funds to continue their program due to the merit of its sustainability.

The winning schools have developed individual oral health education programs made up of ten activities, to be presented monthly throughout the school year, that will work toward helping their students understand why it is important to maintain proper daily oral hygiene; how to properly brush and floss; the function of the dentist and hygienist; the relationship between oral health and food choices; and the relationship between oral health and overall health. The programs include activities such as reading and discussing stories about oral health, developing and playing dental trivia games, and making homemade toothpaste.

“The programs each of the schools have developed exemplified the spirit of our initiative, which is to bring attention to the importance of comprehensive oral health education, and instill good oral health habits early on so that children can take them into adulthood,” said Diane Belle, vice president of the Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation. “Each program was selected to for its creativity and originality, but most importantly for its sustainability. We look forward to following these schools along their journey this school year.”

According to the American Dental Association, tooth decay is increasingly a disease of children from low- and moderate-income households. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that among children suffering from tooth decay, almost 50 percent of these cases remain untreated, with the disease resulting in pain, dysfunction, being underweight, or having poor appearance – all problems that can greatly reduce a child’s capacity to succeed in the educational environment, as well as outside of school. The good news is that through proper oral hygiene and nutrition, childhood tooth decay can be prevented.

“Delta Dental welcomes the opportunity to further educate children, especially those who are underserved, about the importance of maintaining oral health and its close relationship to overall health and well being,” said Belle.

The Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation plans to offer the Oral Health Education Initiative Grant again for the 2009-2010 school year. For more information, please contact Kimberly Elmore at (973) 944-4555 or kelmore@deltadentalnj.com.

About Delta Dental of New Jersey
Delta Dental of New Jersey, Inc., is New Jersey’s and Connecticut's leading dental benefits carrier, providing coverage to more than one million people through contracts with employers in New Jersey and Connecticut. The Delta Dental system offers seamless dental benefits administration for employer groups throughout the country and the largest network of credentialed dentists in the nation. For more information visit us on the Web at www.deltadentalnj.com.

About the Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation
Delta Dental established the Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation in 1986. Its mission includes promoting and assisting educational projects devoted to the enhancement of dental health, research programs designed to increase public awareness of the general benefits of good health, and to improve dental health through the science of dentistry. Each year, the Delta Dental Foundation provides financial support to various organizations throughout the state.

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Kim Elmore
Delta Dental of New Jersey
973-944-4555