Hawaii has one of the worst rates of oral health for children and adults in the nation. The August 2015 Hawaii State Department of Health report, “Hawaii Oral Health: Key Findings”, showed significant oral health disparities in Hawaii’s residents relating to income, education, ethnicity, health insurance status, and geographic location. Hawaii’s low-income residents are also more likely to experience dental problems and less likely to see a dentist than other U.S. residents.
To help address the chronic and inequitable state of oral health among Hawaii’s residents, the Hawai’i Public Health Association (HPHA) has been funded by the DentaQuest Foundation under its 2020 Oral Health Initiative to lead a project that focuses on incorporating more collaboration and consultation with at-risk populations and stakeholders that lead to innovative, out-of-the-box, and culturally-sensitive strategies specifically to improve oral health status and reduce disparities for Hawaii’s residents.
The goal of the Bright Smiles Hawaii project is to diversify and amplify the dialogue on oral health issues in order to incorporate broader thoughts and views on oral health, barriers, and possible strategies from community-level representatives and cultural bridge representatives, and to strengthen the role of community-based grassroots partners. Building on this broader deeply-rooted, and more representative Hawaii oral health network is a crucial first step toward weaving oral health into the priorities and agendas of our communities and groups that are most adversely affected by poor oral health.
For more information, please visit www.brightsmileshawaii.org