Keiki dental care the goal of partnership

| January 12, 2017 | 0 Comments
Sgt. Kyle Baylis (left), dental lab technician, and Maj. (Dr.) Anna Lichelle Aldana (right), comprehensive dentist, both with the 455th Dental Co., provide dental care for a member of the Kauai local community during Tropic Care 2014 at the Eleele Elementary School, June 20. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Chris Hubenthal Defense Media Activity – Hawaii News Bureau)

Sgt. Kyle Baylis (left), dental lab technician, and Maj. (Dr.) Anna Lichelle Aldana (right), comprehensive dentist, both with the 455th Dental Co., provide dental care for a member of the Kauai local community during Tropic Care 2014 at the Eleele Elementary School, June 20. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Chris Hubenthal Defense Media Activity – Hawaii News Bureau)


Department of Education

State of Hawaii
HONOLULU — In an effort to provide oral health services for students who need it, the Hawaii State Department of Education and the Hawaii Dental Association are joining forces.

The agencies have established a Memorandum of Agreement to promote oral health by teaching students proper dental hygiene techniques and providing information about access to free dental health services.

Hawaii DOE logoEducation initiative
Dentists will be visiting HIDOE first and second grade classes on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Island from Jan. 16-Feb. 28, which coincides with National Children’s Dental Health Month in February.

“When students do not get the health care they need, we find that it affects their performance in school. This partnership is a huge step to provide services to many children who are not getting proper oral health care,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.

“As we work towards closing the achievement gap, we must look at the whole child, and that includes their experiences outside of the classroom,” she said. “We’re grateful to the Hawaii Dental Association for making this opportunity available for students.”

In October, the Hawaii Department of Health released “Hawaii Smiles,” a statewide report that showed a need for oral health improvement for Hawaii’s children. A few of the key findings included the following:
•More than 7 out of 10 third graders (71 percent) are affected by tooth decay;
•About 7 percent of Hawaii third grade children are in need of urgent dental care because of pain or infection;
•Children from low-income families, as defined as those who are eligible for the National School Lunch Program, have a disproportionate amount of tooth decay (about 31 percent of children eligible for National School Lunch Program have untreated tooth decay compared to 13 percent who are not eligible).

National effort
These efforts are also part of a national initiative from the American Dental Association to bring preventative education and dental services to underserved children, which include 92,000 economically disadvantaged public school students in Hawaii.

“The goal of this partnership is to educate children from a young age on the importance of proper dental care. We also want to raise awareness about services that provide free dental care, so their families can encourage and foster these new habits,” shared Melissa Pavlicek, president, Hawaii Public Policy Advocates who coordinated the MOA on behalf of HDA.

In ensuring that students come to school healthy and ready to learn, Superintendent Matayoshi has made the health and well-being of public school students a priority. In 2014, HIDOE launched the “Hawaii Keiki” program that created school-based health services designed to screen for treatable health conditions and control communicable disease and other health problems, and provides emergency care for illness or injury.

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Category: Health

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