February ADA national Children’s Dental Health Month celebration

February ADA national Children’s Dental Health Month celebration

by CDR M Jorden USN DC, 3D Dental Battalion/U.S. Naval Dental Center Okinawa
Stripes Okinawa

The month of February is the American Dental Association (ADA) national Children’s Dental Health Month celebration. 3D Dental Battalion/U.S. Naval Dental Center Okinawa recognizes this celebration as great opportunity to promote children’s dental health. In support to this nationwide event, dental staff from 3D Dental Battalion will be visiting four DoD elementary schools. The main focus will be to bring awareness to caregivers, parents and children of the importance to prevent oral disease, through proper oral hygiene and good dietary habits as well as to highlight the role of a dental home. There will be an interactive open house event at Evans Dental Clinic for parents and children.

Open House Details:

When: 0900 to 1200 on February 23rd, 2019
Where: Evans Dental Clinic (Camp Foster)
What: This open house will allow parents and their children to become more familiar with the dental clinic environment. Parents will have an opportunity for questions and answers with 3D Dental Battalion’s pediatric dental providers. Children will interact with dental staff, participate in face painting, visit the tooth fairy house, and experience hands on simulated activities as well as meeting dental characters.

Here are some key dental health facts, some of which are particular to living in Okinawa:

  • What is a cavity?

A cavity is an infection of the tooth caused by bacteria, these bacteria over time disrupt the hard surface of the tooth.  Eventually, if untreated, a cavity can cause pain, tooth loss and has the potential to become a life threatening infection. The term caries is the scientific way of saying cavity. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) released research stating that dental caries is the most common chronic disease of children between ages 6 to 11 years old.

  • Do certain foods and drinks cause cavities?

Yes!—there are certain foods that increase your cavity risk. Frequent snacking on candy, dry cereal, fruit, chips, pretzels, granola bars and gummies put your child at high risk. Juices, flavored milk, carbonated beverages, sports drinks are particularly high in sugar. A major cause of early childhood cavities is allowing your child to go to bed with juice or milk. The juice or milk will sit on their teeth all night— instead, try to substitute these drinks with water to lower your little ones’ risk.

  • How do I prevent cavities?

Proper brushing and flossing and a balanced diet are key to healthy teeth. The ADA recommends that children should start to visit a dentist just after their first teeth start to show but no later than their first birthday. Oral hygiene should be supervised until children are able to tie their shoe laces independently.  Flossing should start when your child’s teeth are touching.

  • Fluoride facts

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that when used appropriately is safe and effective in preventing and controlling dental caries  Okinawa’s water does not have fluoride in it.  Brushing with fluoridated toothpaste using no more than a smear or rice-sized amount of toothpaste for children’s less than three years of age and no more than a pea-sized amount for children older than three will significantly reduce cavity risk.

  • Where in Okinawa do I take my child for dental health care?

Okinawa has several Navy clinics, one Air Force clinic and one Army clinic that serve family members.  Sponsors are encouraged to verify which clinic their dependents are assigned to prior to making an initial dental appointment.  Alternatively, family members may elect to receive their dental care off base.   

We at 3D Dental Battalion/U.S. Naval Dental Center Okinawa are thrilled to be serving active duty and their dependents!  Please look out for us in your community and on AFN radio in February!

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