Tooth decay is nearly 100 percent higher among Hawai'i's keiki compared to children on the Mainland. In response to these staggering statistics, the Rotary Club of Kihei Sunrise developed the "Keiki Dental-Catch a Smile" project. For the third consecutive year, this program designed to improve and sustain the oral health status of children by prevention through education was presented to two Kihei elementary schools.
University of Hawai'i Maui Dental Assisting Program Director Joyce Yamada and some of her students, local Dentist Dr. Sonia Gupta, local Pediatrician Dr. Fely Livaudais and Kihei Sunrise Rotarians presented the interactive program to first-grade students at Kihei and Kamali'i Schools, where they shared important information about good oral hygiene habits, including brushing, flossing and eating "good" foods.
The club also provided each student with a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, an activity book and a list of local dentists who accept Quest/Medicaid patients.
With help from Kihei Sunrise Rotarians in full costume--Good Tooth Fairy Gary Paul and Bad Tooth Fairy Ron Capanash--Kamali‘i School students determined whether foods represented by cutouts were good or bad for their teeth and health. Assisting is club member Margie Flores.
The total cost of this project for both schools (300 first-grade children) was less than $600--the cost of two fillings for one child.