Think About It: Dental Doings - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

October 10, 2016

Think About It: Dental Doings

The latest numbers are in on the dental health of Hawaii's keiki, and the results are nothing to smile about. As expected in a state which simply refuses to accept 60 years of reinforced statistics regarding the positive value of fluoride treatment in water, Hawaii's kids have a higher incidence of tooth decay than do the kids in any other state in the country. But rather than lament the age old and unproven concerns about adding fluoride, the message today will be about the positive steps now locally being taken to help ensure that this negative trend of bad teeth starts reversing itself.

A new project here and in Colorado and Oregon to bring more dental care out to rural and low-income areas, where dental health is the worst, is going to be introduced. Dental assistants and hygienists out on calls can get the information needed from dentists to help care for those who don't get regular check-ups or decide that they can't afford an office visit. The need for urgent dental care is logically most pronounced in areas where kids just don't get seen, so hopefully this new program will ensure that more kids get seen early in the process, before cavities become a problem.

The Mayo Clinic points out that poor dental care can lead to further medical maladies, including cardiovascular disease, dementia, respiratory infections, and diabetes complications. So brushing and flossing daily plus an annual check-up go a lot further than just helping out your mouth and your breath. With improved education and treatment being spread to areas most responsible for the bad oral health statistics in Hawaii, perhaps this situation can be changed for the better in short order. Now that's worth smiling about. Think about it…

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