Tooth decay is a major problem in Hawaii, especially among keiki.
And a recent Pew Center report gave the state an F for its efforts to prevent decay by improving access for low-income children to dental sealants — clear plastic coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of molars. Hawaii was one of five states to receive a failing grade.
But Hawaii lawmakers this session are considering a bill that aims to enhance children’s access to sealants. The proposal would permit dental hygienists to apply sealants at schools and require the Department of Health to establish and administer the school-based dental sealant program in one high-need school. Eventually, the state would appropriate funds to expand the program to all schools.
The Senate committees on Health, Education and Commerce and Consumer Protection are scheduled to hear the bill today at 1 p.m. in conference room 229.
UPDATED 4:30 P.M.: The committees deferred the measure until Feb. 11 at 1:10 p.m. in conference room 229.
— Alia Wong