The Hawaii Dental Service (HDS) Foundation awarded a $133,447 grant to continue a dental sealing program in public schools that screened more than 650 children in the past school year, two-thirds of whom received sealings dental free of charge. The Hawaiʻi Keiki-HDS Dental Sealing Program was developed in 2019, to coordinate dental screenings and provide on-site dental sealants to Title I public elementary schools in dire need. Dental sealants help prevent cavities on permanent molars, and the application of sealants is quick, non-invasive and painless. Sealants are regularly applied by a dentist to the keiki around the second or third year.
Hawaiʻi Keiki: Healthy and Ready to Learn is a partnership between the University of Hawaii at Nancy Atmospera-Walch School of Nursing (NAWSON) in Mānoa and the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE). The mission of the Hawaiʻi Keiki program is to keep the keiki healthy and ready to learn by providing access to school nursing services in Hawaiʻi public schools.
The Hawaiʻi Keiki-HDS dental sealant program provides free oral health assessments and dental sealants and brings licensed dentists and dental hygienists to the school to minimize student time outside of class. Families of participating students receive assessment reports, referrals and oral care kits, and students in need of urgent dental care are referred to community dental service providers. With support from the HDS Foundation, nurses, dentists, and dental hygienists at Hawaiʻi Keiki School improve the oral and general health of students. The program will continue to screen more HIDOE students in this new school year.
“Schools and parents love this program because we provide safe and effective sealants to prevent future cavities,” said Deborah Matheus, director of the Hawaiʻi Keiki-HDS dental cementation program. “In addition to sealing teeth, we screen students for urgent dental issues and refer them for immediate care. It’s hard to learn if you have a toothache. We also teach children the importance of brushing and flossing daily.
“HDS is proud to support this important sealing program to protect the oral health of HIDOE students,” said Dr. Diane Paloma, President and CEO of Hawaii Dental Service. “Improving access to dental care in schools is helping families start good oral health habits now to ensure their children have a healthy smile for life.”
During the past school year, the program screened 653 public school students at 28 schools on Oʻahu, Maui and Kauaʻi, with 430 students, or about 66 percent, receiving dental sealants. In addition, screenings identified 31 children in need of urgent dental care.
“We are excited to continue our partnership with the HDS Foundation to collaboratively improve oral health and overall health across the state,” said Clementine Ceria-Ulep, acting dean at NAWSON. “Our Hawaiʻi Keiki program is uniquely positioned to provide direct services to public school students.”
According to a 2015 Department of Health report, children in Hawaii have one of the highest rates of tooth decay (cavities) in the nation, with 71% of third-grade students in Hawaii suffering from tooth decay. The report found that 7% needed urgent dental care, compared to the national rate of 1%. Additionally, more than 60% of third-graders in Hawai’i had no sealants on their permanent molars. The Hawaiʻi Keiki-HDS dental sealant program works proactively to increase the number of children who receive dental sealants.
“We are grateful for the important role the HDS Foundation plays as a community partner for UH Mānoa NAWSON, Hawai’i Keiki and the Hawai’i Department of Education,” said Tim Dolanvice president of advancement at the University of Hawaii and CEO of University of Hawaii Foundation. “Mahalo to the HDS Foundation for supporting this essential preventative service for Hawaii’s keiki.”
The University of Hawaii Foundation
A non-profit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawaii system. The mission of the University of Hawai’i Foundation is to unite the passions of donors with the aspirations of the University of Hawai’i by mobilizing philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH , the people of Hawai’i and our future generations. www.uhfoundation.org
Hawaii Dental Services Foundation
The Hawaii Dental Service Foundation was established in 1986 by Hawaii Dental Service to improve oral health in Hawaii. The Foundation’s oral health initiatives include programs such as Seal Away Decay, Dentist by One and Kupuna Smiles. In 2018, the Foundation established the Hawaii Dental Service Community Scholarship Program to support students in Hawaii pursuing careers in dentistry or dental hygiene. The Foundation also awards grants to local nonprofit organizations for programs and projects that provide oral health education, prevent oral disease, and improve access to dental care for underserved populations. . Visit the Hawaii Dental Service Foundation website at www.HDSFoundation.give.
Hawai’i Keiki is a partnership between UH Mānoa Nancy Atmospera-Walch School of Nursing and the Hawaii Department of Education and is at the intersection of education and health to help the DOE ensuring student, school and system success. The program is designed to improve access to and quality of school health services by coordinating and expanding the existing efforts of community partners and resources. The program improves and implements school health services that identify treatable health conditions; provide referrals to primary health care and patient-centred home medical services; preventing and controlling communicable diseases and other health problems; and provide emergency care in the event of illness or injury. Visit us at www.nursing.hawaii.edu/hawaii-keiki.
UH Mānoa Nancy Atmospera-Walch School of Nursing
UH Mānoa Nancy Atmospera-Walch School of Nursing, the Nursing Capital of the Pacific, is the leader in nursing education and research in Hawai’i with outreach in Asia and the the Pacific basin. We provide an innovative, caring, and multicultural environment in which faculty, students, and staff work together to generate and transmit knowledge, wisdom, and values to promote the quality of life and health of present and future generations. The school offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs. To reflect Hawai’i’s unique cultural diversity and heritage, we are committed to increasing the representation of Native Hawaiians and other underserved people in all nursing programs. Visit us at www.nursing.hawaii.edu.
For more information visit: https://nursing.hawaii.edu/hawaii-keiki/dental-sealant-program/