Beyond Benefits: Granting Special Smiles with the Special Olympics
Delta Dental of Wisconsin presented Special Olympics Wisconsin (SOWI) with a check for $25,000 to continue to provide free oral health screenings, fluoride varnish, and education to athletes as part of the Special Olympics Special Smiles® program in conjunction with the State Summer Games. Many dentists, hygienists, and dental students from across the state volunteered to provide oral screenings.
According to Missy Schoenbrodt, director of athlete wellness for SOWI, approximately 38 percent of athletes have obvious untreated tooth decay and 14 percent have urgent dental needs.
“Education is the key to preventing oral health issues, and our volunteers make it fun for our athletes to learn about oral hygiene,” said Schoenbrodt. “Athletes not only receive education and have their oral health needs identified, they also receive help finding a dentist. We appreciate Delta Dental’s continued efforts to keep our athletes healthy.”
Since 2002, Delta Dental has been the exclusive statewide partner of the Special Olympics Special Smiles program, providing screenings at three State Games throughout the year. All participants screened at Special Smiles are given dental care supplies and, if appropriate for the sport they participate in, a fitted mouth guard. In 2013, screenings were provided to more than 500 Special Olympics athletes.
After the screening, if an individual is found to have an urgent unmet dental need, SOWI staff works with the athlete and/or their guardian to assist them in finding the continued care they require. For more information about Special Olympics Special Smiles, visit www.SpecialOlympicsWisconsin.org.
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