Making Dental Care Available For All

Yu Shing Ting
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Friday - May 13, 2009
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Dr. Russell Masunaga

The Hawaii Dental Association (HDA) Dental Samaritans present its third annual Denim & Diamonds gala fundraiser from 5:30 to 11 p.m. May 31 at Bonsai Restaurant and Lounge in Restaurant Row.

Founded in 2001 by members of HDA, Dental Samaritans is a charitable organization comprised of about 400 volunteer dentists and donors with the goal of providing dental care to patients in established dental clinics who otherwise could not afford dental care.

HDA Dental Samaritans also participates in various programs such as Give Kids a Smile, which offers free dental screenings, oral health education and supply distribution at schools throughout Hawaii.

“In the U.S., Hawaii has one of the highest rates of tooth decay in children,” says Dr. Russell Masunaga, who serves as director for HDA Dental Samaritans. “Much of that is because of socio-economic reasons and prevention education.”

Here are a few tips on how to keep those cavities away, according to Masunaga:

* Practice good oral hygiene at home.

* Brush and floss correctly.

* Everyone should have a dentist.

* Brush your teeth after every meal. The bacterial process can start in 10 to 15 minutes after eating.

* Eat foods that are low in carbohydrates and low in sugar, such as fresh fruit. Also, certain foods such as cheese and chocolate actually have chemicals that can help to fight bacteria.

“In Hawaii we have a very high starch diet,” adds Masunaga, “and one of the things that people often don’t know is that starch can actually cause more cavities than candy. For example, a cracker can cause more cavities than a piece of caramel because caramel will dissolve where the cracker will hang out in the corners of your mouth.”

A goal of HDA Dental Samaritans is to find each child a dental home where he or she can go for cleaning and dental education.

The organization also supplies volunteers for the Aloha Medical Mission and funds a range of services such as the dental clinic at the Kakaako Homeless Shelter through the UH School of Dental Hygiene and various domestic violence back-to-work programs.

Nonprofit organizations with an oral healthcare-based program also are encouraged to submit a request for funding.

This year’s Denim & Diamonds gala fundraiser is called Casino Heaven and will feature 15 tables of poker, craps, roulette and blackjack. There also will be a VIP High Roller Room exclusively for Diamond and Platinum sponsors.

The event, hosted by radio personality Maleko, also will feature special performances by Anita Hall and the New Jass Quartet.

There also will be a silent auction, music by DJ Kutmaster Spaz and a fashion show featuring Bamboo Sky, Jade by Nikolai and So Good Jewelry.

Tickets cost $100. Sponsorship packages also are available: Silver ($800, includes four passes), Titanium ($1,200, six passes), Platinum ($2,000, 10 premium access passes), and Diamond ($4,000, 10 ultra-premium access passes).

For more information on requests for funding from the HDA Dental Samaritans or to purchase tickets/sponsorship packages to Denim & Diamonds, contact Kim Koga at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 848-8880.

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