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Tooth decay and other mouth disease disproportionately afflict Native American children. In South Dakota, they are almost 3 times more likely to have untreated tooth decay, and access to dental care is a challenge.
For the past 3 years, with the help of a $3.3 million grant from U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Delta Dental of South Dakota has been working with the 9 Tribes in South Dakota to hire and place dental health staff on reservations.
Between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2015, the Circle of Smiles program’s staff provided preventive care and education to children through the age of 9, reaching 7,810 patients at 168 clinic locations.
The results were significant*:
• 64% increase in children who’d had a dental visit;
• More than 75% increase in kids who’d had cleaning and fluoride treatments;
• Doubled the percentage of kids who’d had dental sealants; and
• 27% decrease in average dental costs per child.
Delta Dental of South Dakota is proud to announce we will continue the work of the program with funding from our foundation and it will become part of our ongoing mobile program.
As part of our mobile program even more kids can be served. Staff will no longer be tied to the parameters of the original grant, allowing care to extend to kids beyond age 9.
We’re excited to continue helping kids in our South Dakota communities because we believe every person deserves a healthy smile.
* Based on analysis of claims data.