As a chance to impact the health and wellness in the Howard community, Horizon Health Care’s Prairie Winds Dental started growing a garden right in the clinic’s backyard.
The dental team joined together, along with donations and help from director of clinical informatics Gin Wingen, to grow healthy vegetables for patients to take home, including cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, and green beans.
“With the rising cost of groceries and other items that have happened in the last year, we thought it would be a great opportunity to provide healthy options for patients and staff,” said Dr. Michelle Scholtz, chief dental officer and dentist at Prairie Winds Dental.
Each staff member has played a part in helping maintain the garden. If a team member is free for ten to thirty minutes during their work day, she will spend time weeding, watering, or checking for produce. Some staff have even stopped by on the weekend to ensure the garden is fully watered and cared for.
Vegetables are placed in a container by the front desk for dental patients to take home with them after an appointment. Since July, the dental team has given away a basket of produce daily. With a successful year so far, the dental team hopes to expand and have additional produce options for next year.
Nutrition and healthy eating have a huge impact on dental hygiene. Fresh vegetables are the best way to harvest a healthy smile, as they contain distinct nutrients to encourage optimal oral health. Vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber to help strengthen teeth and stimulate saliva flow to neutralize cavity-causing acids.
With this new garden tradition, the dental team hopes to encourage patients to eat healthier and take care of their teeth.
About Horizon Health Care, Inc.
For over 40 years, Horizon Health Care has been providing personalized, affordable, high-quality medical, dental and behavioral healthcare through a rural, community-based network in South Dakota. Horizon is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that serves the medical, dental and mental healthcare needs of South Dakotans in rural, medically underserved areas through 110,000 patient visits annually in 32 community health centers in: Aberdeen, Alcester, Bison, Bryant, De Smet, Eagle Butte, Elk Point, Faith, Fort Thompson, Howard, Huron, Isabel, La Plant, Lake Preston, Martin, McIntosh, Mission, Plankinton, Wessington Springs, White River, Woonsocket, and Yankton. For more information, please visit www.horizonhealthcare.org.