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A recent report by the Pew Center on the States has given Hawaii a failing grade concerning their dental health policies on underprivileged children.
The study gave Hawaii an F grade because they adequately address only two out of the eight benchmarks for quality state-sponsored dental health programs. Researchers from the center found that the Aloha State does not have a system to track children's dental health, provides no fluoride in the drinking water and has no organized tooth sealant program in schools to help prevent decay.
"We are not happy with the results but we are not surprised," said Craig Mason, the Hawaii Dental Association's president.
Due to state budget cuts, Hawaii's dental hygienic branch was dismantled late last year. A total of 13 hygienists who spent the majority of their time in schools were laid off, according to KITV.com.
However, in the state's defense, Mason said that Hawaii depends heavily on the generosity of the private dental community to treat disadvantaged children with dental care needs.
Childhood tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease. Visiting a dentist can help prevent or reduce the incidence of decay through preventative and restorative care.
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