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Rethink Your Drink: $100,000 Available to Iowa Schools for Water Filling Stations

Posted on August 29, 2017 in Foundation

Students in Iowa schools are encouraged to choose optimally fluoridated water over sugary, sweetened beverages this year. With $100,000 support from Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation, qualifying Iowa schools will receive free water bottle filling station installations. Schools that are selected for the “Rethink Your Drink” program will have an old drinking fountain replaced with a new Elkay water fountain/bottle filling station.

The selected schools will receive reusable water bottles for all students and staff and an opportunity for an additional $500 to design and implement an educational campaign encouraging students to drink more water during the school day. Signs will draw attention to the new water bottle filling stations and “Rethink Your Drink” posters and bookmarks will be shared with students to support educational activities organized by the schools.

Why water?

Despite educational efforts of parents, schools and public health agencies to promote healthy drink choices, more than 50 percent1 of children and teens in the U.S. are not properly hydrated during the school day which can impact cognitive function and energy levels.2 Caffeinated beverages, sports drinks and energy drinks used by children and teenagers have a negative effect on their oral health and overall health. Drinking optimally fluoridated water from the tap, or water fountain, provides needed hydration and also protects tooth enamel and makes it more resistant to cavities. All individuals can benefit from drinking optimally fluoridated water.

“Having a water bottle filling station in school encourages students to refill their personal water bottles and provides a low-cost way for kids to stay hydrated throughout the day,” said Melissa Walker, state school nurse consultant, Iowa Department of Education. “Drinking optimally fluoridated water helps wash away bacteria in the mouth, aids in healthy digestion and helps keeps the brain, muscles and body working properly.”

How it works

All Iowa schools are welcome to apply for the “Rethink Your Drink” program. Schools can apply by visiting and submitting their application by September 22. Priority will be given to:

  • Communities with optimally fluoridated water,
  • Schools that have the highest rates of free and reduced price lunch, and
  • Schools that do not already have a water bottle filling station installed in their building.

“The Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation’s mission is to improve the oral health for all Iowans,” said Jeff Russell, president, Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation. “Public-private partnerships like ‘Rethink Your Drink’ improve both oral and overall health for Iowa students by encouraging them to drink fluoridated water throughout the day.”

The program, “Rethink Your Drink” is funded by Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation and 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.

1 American Dental Association. (2015). Fluoridation Facts. Accessed July 27, 2017 at

2 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.


About Delta Dental of Iowa

Delta Dental of Iowa is the largest and most experienced provider of dental benefits in the state. As a not-for-profit insurance company, Delta Dental of Iowa invests in oral health and wellness projects through the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation that focus on access to care, prevention, education and research. Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation’s mission is to support and improve the oral health of Iowans.

Delta Dental of Iowa is a member of the Delta Dental Plans Association, the leading national network of independent dental service corporations. The Delta Dental member companies provide dental benefits to more than 75 million Americans in more than 139,000 employee groups throughout the country. For more information, visit our website at