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"Rethink Your Drink" Program

Posted on April 12, 2018 in Foundation

In the first three months of Delta Dental of Iowa’s “Rethink Your Drink” program, more than 200,000 plastic water bottles have been saved from Iowa landfills. Through water bottle filling stations installed in 54 Iowa schools in late 2017, children and staff have used refillable water bottles to stay hydrated with optimally fluoridated drinking water throughout the school day. Now, Delta Dental of Iowa is opening the application for more schools to apply for a water bottle filling station.

All Iowa schools are welcome to apply for the “Rethink Your Drink” program. Those selected will have an old drinking fountain replaced with a new Elkay water bottle filling station. Schools can apply by visiting and submitting their application by May 1, 2018. 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.

“Students and schools across Iowa showed incredible excitement and participation in the inaugural phase of ‘Rethink Your Drink,’ said Jeff Russell, president, Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation. “As a result, we reduced the use of plastic water bottles and we know 28,000 students are more hydrated which leads to better overall health and more focused learning during the school day.”

According to the American Dental Association, more than 50 percent of children and teens in the U.S. are not properly hydrated during the school day. Studies show dehydration 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.

The program, “Rethink Your Drink” is funded by the 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 In Depth Marketing.