By Maui Now Staff
Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa presented a special proclamation to the UH Maui College Dental Assisting Program, for their work in creating Dental Kits for Babies.
The program gives healthcare providers dental informational packets for the families of every baby born at the Maui Memorial Medical Center, as well as interested pediatric and community health offices.
The packets contain supplies and information on proper oral care practices including: a UHMC designed and produced brochure “Keep Your Baby Smiling,” a National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research brochure “A Healthy Mouth For Your Baby,” a Butler Parent’s Toothbrush (a child-size brush with a handle fit for a parent’s hand), and Spiffies tooth wipes.
The project began in 2009 and seeks to provide access to oral health information to every socio-economic group, and improve oral care by reducing Hawaii’s tooth decay rates. It’s estimated that more than 2,000 packets are disseminated each year to families at Maui Memorial Medical Center, along with an additional 2,000 packets distributed through other offices and clinics.
“Healthy teeth are important to the overall health of our keiki and taking simple steps now can mean helping our children have healthier gums and teeth throughout their lifetime,” said Mayor Arakawa. “The County of Maui is committed in our support of the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College’s fine work to educate the community about the importance of infant oral hygiene.”
Jeny Bissell, R.N. and Administrator of the Family Health Services Section of the Hawaii Department of Health on Maui, said the project is not only cost effective, but can be a model for the rest of the state.
“In a sampling of WIC clients who received the Baby Dental Packets, 47% reported that the only infant dental information they received was from the Baby Dental Packets Project, and of those who had some dental knowledge previous to receiving the Baby Packets, 91% said they learned half of their dental knowledge from the Baby Packets,” she said.
Project partners include UH Maui College’s Dental Assisting Program, Maui Memorial Medical Center Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health, Maui County Dental Hygienists’ Association, Maui County Dental Society, Frank M. and Gertrude R. Doyle Foundation, and Dr. Shaun Wright, DDS.