HONOLULU — The Hawaii State Department of Education and the Hawaii Dental Association 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.
“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 healthcare,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.
Dentists will be visiting first and second grade classes on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Island from Jan. 16 to Feb. 28, which coincides with National Children’s Dental Health Month in February.
In October, the Department of Health released “Hawaii Smiles,” a statewide report that showed a glaring need for oral health improvement for Hawaii’s children.
In the report, it showed that more than seven out of 10 third-graders are affected by tooth decay and around 7 percent of third-graders are in need of urgent dental care due to pain or infection, among other findings.
“The goal of this partnership is to educate children from a young age on the importance of proper dental care,” said Melissa Pavlicek, president of Hawaii Public Policy Advocates who coordinated the MOA for HDA.