Elementary students asked to ‘Rethink Your Drink’

Grant includes water bottle filling station

Greene County Elementary students and staff all received their own water bottle and a new toothbrush Monday to kick off Dental Health Month and a “Rethink Your Drink” project.

The project is funded by a grant from the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation that also included an Elkay water bottle filling station to replace an existing water fountain.
Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation initially allocated $100,000 for the “Rethink Your Drink” program, but added funds after receiving applications from 175 schools.

Greene County school nurse Mary Pedersen submitted the application, which was among 54 projects funded. Partners with Delta Dental are the Iowa Department of Public Health bureau of nutrition and health promotion, Iowa Public Health Association, Iowa Department of Education, and Balfrey & Johnston Inc.

According to a press release from Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation, 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.

Pedersen hopes to see a decrease in the number of afternoon headache complaints, which she attributes to students not drinking enough during the day. Students are being allowed to keep the water bottles on their desks, making it easy to drink more water.

The Foundation press release stated, “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.”

Pedersen plans to use the Jumpstart Monday assemblies to highlight dental health. Next week dentist Dr Keith Van Beek will talk with all K-4 students about dental health. Pedersen is planning a demonstration of the amount of sugars in the drinks children enjoy on Feb. 19, and on Feb. 26 students will all receive special 2-minute brushing timers.

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