Hawaii looks backward in dental world
One way to tell the difference between a Third World country and a First World country is that Third World countries allow people to ride on top of buses while holding chickens. Another way is if the country has to import doctors and dentists from First World countries to take care of their citizens.
(You don't hear much about Second World countries. I'm not sure what a Second World country is. Maybe one in which every family owns a car but it's pulled by a donkey.)
It's fun to feel superior to Third World countries, like North Korea, which has to bring in foreign doctors to do basic eye surgery. (Ha, ha ... you can build a nuclear bomb, but you can't get rid of cataracts!) At the same time you feel sorry for the people living in such backward regimes. How embarrassing it must be for them not to have basic medical services available.
Which is why we all should have felt mortified recently when a team of dentists from Iowa flew to the Big Island to provide dental care to Hawaii children. Putting aside the fact that the children probably weren't all that thrilled at a dental strike force air-dropping into their neighborhoods, the dental mission pretty much pegged Hawaii as, if not a Third World country, then a Third World state.
I WAS SHOCKED when I read about Hawaii's need to avail itself of what essentially is Dentists Without Borders. I just assumed that all kids in Hawaii had access to reasonable dental care. It shook me up to see a photo of the "foreign" docs filling the cavities of our keiki o ka aina. I mean, what kind of a backward, buck-toothed hick state can't plug the cavities of its own children?
I was somewhat relieved to look out the window and see that people weren't riding on top of TheBus holding chickens. Yet. But come on! Are you kidding me? There aren't enough dentists on the Big Island to take care of kids' teeth?
Apparently not. At least kids without private medical insurance. They are covered by the state's Quest insurance safety net but have to be flown to Oahu to experience the terror of visiting a dentist. Kids should be able to hate going to a dentist on their own island.
The knee-jerk reaction to the child dental crisis in Hawaii is a suggestion to fluoridate all of our water. Hawaii might be a backward, buck-toothed hick state, but it's got really pure water. Why pollute it with some chemical just so some kids don't have to experience the thrill of the drill?
Here's how to solve Hawaii's child dental-health problem:
1. Mom and Dad, stop the little slackers from sucking on Big Gulp sodas and sugar drinks all day.
2. If Mom and Dad are too lazy to make sure kids brush their teeth, let the kids drink fluoridated bottled water. Don't foist off parents' stupidity on the state water supply.
3. If the Big Island needs dentists, send them from Oahu, not Iowa. What's next? Ophthalmologists from Pyongyang opening a clinic in Hilo?
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