(HOWARD, SD) – Horizon Health Care’s Horizon Health Foundation is gearing up to celebrate Giving Tuesday by raising $20,000 in twenty-four hours to help 80 children, ages 0-5, receive free preventative dental care.
Cavities are one of the most common diseases of children in the US. Over 40% of children have cavities by the time they reach kindergarten. About 20.5% of children ages 2-5 have untreated decay, and 50% of children ages 2-5 have never seen a dentist.
In 2018, Horizon piloted a children’s oral health campaign, “Smiles for Miles”, that focused on bringing children ages 0-5 into the dental clinic for a free preventative exam and cleaning. The campaign, now established as an annual program held during October, helps educate parents and children on healthy oral habits. During October 2021, Horizon saw 187 patients ages 0-5. 44% of those patients were new patients and 28% of the children seen had decay identified during the exam.
“Since the program’s conception, we have been able to provide 769 children with a free preventative exam and cleaning,” said Michelle Scholtz, Chief Dental Officer. “Early dental visits can help prevent a child from future oral problems. The Smiles for Miles program puts children on a path toward oral wellness and development by encouraging regular dentist checkups, even at a young age.”
To meet the need of children across South Dakota and ensure they have access to dental care, the Horizon Health Foundation is raising money to support and grow “Smiles for Miles” by participating in South Dakota Gives’ fourth annual Giving Tuesday #ForSouthDakota campaign.
Following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this year’s Giving Tuesday #ForSouthDakota will take place on Tuesday, November 30th. It’s a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. For the fourth year, #ForSouthDakota is uniting South Dakotans to celebrate generosity in their state. The Horizon Health Foundation invites individuals to create “Smiles for Miles” by becoming a VIP sponsor (sponsor a child – gifts of $250+/or $20.83 per month).
All gifts made now through Giving Tuesday will be matched dollar for dollar up to $6,650 because of Delta Dental of South Dakota and Central Electric Cooperative.
“We are grateful for the generosity and partnership of Delta Dental again this year, as well as our new matching gift sponsor Central Electric Cooperative through their Operation Round Up program,” said Brianna Feldhaus, Development Officer of Horizon Health Foundation. “These matching gifts are a great opportunity for you to make double the impact for rural local children through Horizon’s Smiles for Miles program.”
Delta Dental is a nonprofit oral health company working to improve the oral health of all South Dakotans. In addition to dental benefit plans, Delta Dental of South Dakota provides dental care and oral health education to kids across the state. Delta Dental of South Dakota and Horizon Health Care share a common mission of providing quality care for thousands of South Dakotans, especially in rural and frontier areas.
“We know how important it is that young kids see a dentist,” said Scott Jones, CEO of Delta Dental of South Dakota. “We also know it’s not always easy, especially in rural areas. This is a great way for us to support a mission we share for better oral health for kids in South Dakota.”
Mark your calendars for Giving "Toothsday" on November 30, 2021 to support Horizon Health Foundation’s goal of helping 80 children (ages 0-5) receive dental care.
To donate or learn more on South Dakota Day of Giving, visit the Horizon Health Foundation webpage https://horizonhealthfoundation.com/smiles, Facebook page (Horizon Health Foundation), or call at 605-772-4553.