Morningside Elementary receives free water bottle filling station
It’s now easier for students and staff at Morningside Elementary to feel the numerous health benefits of drinking optimally fluoridated water throughout day. Through the “Rethink Your Drink” partnership led by Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation, an Elkay water bottle filling station was recently installed at Morningside Elementary replacing an existing water fountain. In addition, the district received $500 to design and implement an educational campaign to encourage students to drink more water.
“I encourage students to drink water when they come into the nurse’s office. So I was thrilled when there was an opportunity to get a water bottle filling station and additional money to encourage good oral health.” said Kathy Bernard, school nurse for Morningside Elementary.
More than 50 percent of children and teens in the U.S. are not properly hydrated during the school day, which can impact cognitive function and energy levels. Despite efforts by families, schools and public health agencies to educate students on better drink choices, children and teenagers often choose caffeinated beverages, sports drinks and energy drinks. By choosing optimally fluoridated water, students and staff are more alert, better hydrated, protect their tooth enamel and make their teeth more resistant to cavities.
“This investment provides opportunities for oral health education for more than 28,000 Iowa students,” said Jeff Russell, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Iowa. “Through strong partnerships, the “Rethink Your Drink” project helps students make the specific connection between oral health and overall health. In the long-term, students educated in better health and wellness practices could reduce health care costs for their families and communities.”
Initially, Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation allocated $100,000 for the “Rethink Your Drink” program. After applications were received from 175 schools during a three-week application period, the non-profit insurance company determined it would increase its investment. Fifty-four Iowa schools received Elkay water bottle filling stations through an investment of $230,000 by Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation and is supported by the Iowa Department of Public Health Bureau of Nutrition and Health Promotion, Iowa Public Health Association, Iowa Department of Education and Balfrey & Johnston, Inc.
Schools that were selected were also able to apply for an additional $500 to design and implement an educational campaign encouraging students to drink more water during the school day. In addition to the new water bottle filling station, “Rethink Your Drink” water bottles, toothbrushes ,activity books, and timers will be shared with students to support educational activities organized by the schools.
Other Iowa schools interested can apply for a water bottle filling station through Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation’s “Rethink Your Drink” project in early May 2018, to coincide with National Drinking Water Week.
 American Dental Association. (2015). Fluoridation Facts. Accessed July 27, 2017 at http://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Member%20Center/FIles/fluoridation_facts.ashx
 Kenney, E. L., Long, M. W., Cradock, A. L., & Gortmaker, S. L. (2015) Prevalence of Inadequate Hydration Among US Children and Disparities by Gender and Race/Ethnicity: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009-2012. American Journal of Public Health, 105, 113-118.