The Delta Dental Institute released its 2021 Community Impact Report, highlighting the philanthropic investments that Delta Dental made last year to support the oral and overall health of communities across the country. A national leader in oral health giving, Delta Dental supported efforts and initiatives that expand access to care, advance health equity, build resilient communities, and innovate for a healthier tomorrow.
In total, Delta Dental invested $106 million in communities in 2021 — an increase over 2020 — and positively impacted more than 21.3 million lives.
“For nearly 70 years, Delta Dental has been driven by our mission to advance the oral and overall health of the people we serve and the communities we call home,” said James W. Hutchison, president & CEO, Delta Dental Plans Association. “We are proud to be one of the nation’s leaders in oral health giving and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with our communities and partners on the journey toward better health for all.”
“I’m so proud that our community impact work continues to focus on addressing health disparities and expanding access to care in underserved communities,” said Vivian Vasallo, executive director, Delta Dental Institute. “Equity is at the heart of what we do, and we’re committed to equipping all members of our communities with the tools they need to live their healthiest lives.”
The 2021 Community Impact Report, “Our mission: your health,” explores four main areas of Delta Dental’s community impact efforts:
- Expanding access to care: Delta Dental supported dental treatment and prevention programs — such as free dental clinics — that reached 10 million people and helped 4.4 million more get access to fluoridated water.
- Advancing health equity: Delta Dental funded scholarships and grants for underrepresented students pursuing careers in oral health, including support for dental students at Howard University and Meharry Medical College, the only two HBCU dental schools in America. Delta Dental also reached more than 10 million people through oral health education programs, with a focus on underserved communities.
- Building resilient communities: Delta Dental expanded access to healthy food, supporting food drives and food banks that supplied more than 17 million meals, and prioritized sustainability through investing in water bottle-filling stations in schools and other efforts.
- Innovating for a healthier tomorrow: Delta Dental focused on the future by funding research and supporting new care models and technologies, like medical-dental integration and teledentistry, to help develop new solutions to improve care.
To accompany the report, today Delta Dental also released a video and digital story detailing its community impact work, including an interactive map showcasing specific initiatives in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
The full report is available online at 2021cir.deltadental.com.
Delta Dental released the 2022 State of America’s Oral Health and Wellness Report, a nationwide analysis of consumer opinions and behaviors relating to oral health. Findings from the Delta Dental-commissioned research of U.S. adults and parents of children ages 12 and younger illuminate what they thought about their oral health and what they did to properly care for it at home and with their dentist during 2021. A few highlights from this year’s report include:
Public interest prevails in getting smarter about oral health’s link to better health
- Nearly all U.S. adults (92%) and parents (96%) indicate that they consider oral health to be very, if not extremely, important to overall health.
- However, the research finds that many are unaware of how oral health and overall health are connected, as a significant number of people were unable to recognize the medical conditions that are linked to poor oral health, including strokes (38%), high blood pressure (37%) and diabetes (36%).
- The promising news is 9 in 10 (90%) adults are interested in learning about oral health’s critical connection to overall health.
Visits to dentist on the rise
- Most children (89%) and adults (72%) went to the dentist last year.
- This year, significantly fewer parents report that their children are experiencing or have experienced oral health issues compared to surveys from the previous two years, which could correlate to the finding that significantly more children visited their dentist for preventive reasons in 2021 (92%) than the year before (81% in 2020).
- Nearly all (94%) adults plan to visit the dentist this year.
New research finds 9 in 10 U.S. adults want to learn about oral health’s critical connection to overall health.
“While our survey indicates that most adults and parents across the United States understand that oral health is critically important to overall health, it appears that most don’t fully realize the ways oral health is linked to serious health issues. Unfortunately, this lack of understanding isn’t surprising, as people often think of the mouth and body as two distinct parts,” said James W. Hutchison, President & CEO, Delta Dental Plans Association. “One way we continue to partner with the public on their journey to better health is by maintaining our commitment to elevate their awareness of the essential role of oral health.”
To read the full 2022 State of America’s Oral Health and Wellness Report and learn more about the report’s methodology and findings, click here.
About the research
The 2022 State of America’s Oral Health and Wellness Report is based upon Delta Dental-commissioned research conducted between January 19 and January 28, 2022, by Material, a global insights and strategy consultancy, using an email invitation and online surveys to two audiences recruited through an opt-in panel:
- 1,172 parents of children ages 12 and younger.
- 1,027 nationally representative Americans ages 18+.
Quotas were set to ensure a reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. population of adults and parents with children ages 12 and younger. The report has a margin of error of +/- 3%.