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MDCH and Delta Dental of Michigan Team Up to Fight Tooth Decay

Monday, October 6, 2008 General News J E 4
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LANSING, Mich., Oct. 6 The Michigan Department ofCommunity Health and Delta Dental of Michigan today announced continuedfunding for the Varnish! Michigan program with the goal of helping more than8,000 children fight tooth decay.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081006/CLM099 )

With an additional $194,000 commitment in Fiscal Year 2008-09, DeltaDental of Michigan has now provided nearly half a million dollars to helpreduce tooth decay for tens of thousands of low-income children in Michigan.

Launched in 2007, the program provides applications of fluoride varnish onthe teeth of low-income children up to 5 years of age.

"Tooth decay can easily be prevented with proper care but many ofMichigan's children do not have access to this care and develop dental diseaseearly in life," said MDCH Director Janet Olszewski. "We are grateful for DeltaDental's continuing commitment to this program because it allows us topositively impact the dental health of thousands of Michigan children."

State officials expect the treatment to reduce tooth decay between 48 and60 percent for the children involved.

"Delta Dental of Michigan is pleased to continue this partnership withMDCH because it can make a significant difference in the oral and overallhealth of so many children in our state," said Thomas J. Fleszar, D.D.S.,M.S., president and chief executive officer. "We know oral health has atremendous impact on a person's overall health. We commend the MDCH for itsleadership in advancing and promoting this program for Michigan's children."

MDCH plans to provide more than 17,000 varnish applications to the teethof more than 8,000 children during Fiscal Year 2008-09. In addition, childrenwill receive dental screenings and referrals for treatment and ongoing care.Head Start staff also will provide parents or caregivers with educationalmaterials about the importance of good dental health habits.

The Varnish! Michigan commitment is part of an ongoing partnership betweenMDCH and Delta Dental of Michigan. Since 2000, Delta Dental has administeredMDCH's successful Healthy Kids Dental program for Medicaid-eligible children,now available in 59 Michigan counties. The American Dental Association namedHealthy Kids Dental a national model for improving access to dental care forlow-income populations.

Earlier this year, Delta Dental and MDCH also collaborated to produce apublic service campaign, "I smile because ...." to inform Michigan residentsabout the importance of good oral care. The campaign's 30-second televisionspot is available via the MDCH Web site at http://tinyurl.com/3zoqku .

About Delta Dental

Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, with its affiliates inIllinois and Tennessee, make up one of the largest dental plan administratorsin the nation. In 2007, the enterprise paid out nearly $1.8 billion for dentalcare for more than 7.6 million enrollees. Offices are located in Okemos andFarmington Hills, Michigan; Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio; Lisle, Illinois;Nashville, Knoxville, and Memphis, Tennessee; and, Indianapolis and Greenwood,Indiana.

SOURCE Delta Dental of Michigan
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