Hawaii Family Dental continues to tap on people’s consciousness on the importance of proper and diligent oral hygiene, fluoride treatment, and dental visits to reduce the prevalence of cavities that have been plaguing Hawaii’s keiki.
According to the oral health report of the State Health Department in 2016, 71 percent of third-grade children suffer from dental cavities. This figure is higher than the 52 percent national average and the highest in the United States.
Despite the alarming number of tooth decay cases, the state remains adamant on water fluoridation. In fact, only 11 percent of the community waters is fluoridated. Unfortunately, Hawaii is the least-fluoridated state in the country. With this low fluoridation percentage, less than 160,000 residents out of the over 1,419,000 people enjoy the advantages of fluoridated water.
In an interview with Living808, Dr. Karen Sheppard of Hawaii Family Dental emphasizes the need to diligently practice proper oral care, starting with the basics of brushing and flossing every day. She also stresses the importance of dental visits and getting fluoride treatment.
“You need to brush every day [and] floss every day. You ought to see your dentist twice a year. On top of that, we need to make sure they get their fluoride because fluoride is not in the water in the state of Hawaii,” Dr. Sheppard says.
The American Dental Association recommends people to visit the dentist at least twice a year for preventive care. Biannual dental visits include teeth cleaning and fluoride treatment. Through a dental visit, your dentist can check and address oral health problems as soon as possible.
However, 22 percent of American adults forgo dental care due to fear. According to Dr. Sheppard, the fear may stem from traumatic childhood memories in the dental office. Although, the fear may also come from hearing people’s bad experiences with dentists.
“What happens is you come into the office, and you may have heard sounds that you remember. It immediately brings back memories,” Dr. Sheppard adds. Fortunately, Hawaii Family Dental has ways to help patients relax and soothe their anxiety for a more comfortable dental visit.