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NEWS | Feb. 7, 2013

JB Charleston youth learn about importance of oral health

By Staff Sgt. Anthony Hyatt Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

The Deily Dental Clinic at Joint Base Charleston - Air Base reached out to more than 250 children in celebration of Children's Dental Health Month to promote and educate, at any early age, the importance of maintaining good dental health.

Gaye Adams, 628th Medical Group chief of dentistry, and Staff Sgt. Bianca Cortez, 628th MDG dental technician, briefed children, ages 2 through 5, Feb. 5 - 6, 2013, at the Child Development Center at Joint Base Charleston - Air Base, S.C.

Each February, the American Dental Association sponsors National Children's Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. NCDHM messages and materials have reached millions of people in communities across the country.

According to the ADA website, developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

"Children's Dental Health Month is so very important," said Adams. "As we are learning, dental health affects the overall body health. We are learning the healthier we can keep our mouths, the healthier the person will be. Our teeth are meant to last a lifetime."

The briefing focused on the importance of brushing at least two times a day, morning and before bed; proper nutrition; choosing healthy snacks and drinking water versus unhealthy snacks and drinks high in sugar.

Adams and Cortez kept the briefing interactive by allowing the children to wear dental mask and gloves and perform proper brushing techniques on a puppet model.

"The most important thing we would like the children to take from Children's Dental Health Month is the importance of taking daily care of your teeth and that going to the Dentist can be a fun experience," said Adams.

After the briefings, the children received bags filled with new toothbrushes, samples of toothpaste, samples of fluoride rinse, stickers and an educational coloring book.

"When you see the children sitting there listening as intensely as young children can and you hear their questions and see the eagerness in their participation, it brings great joy to know you have made a difference and touched their lives," said Adams.

The 628th Medical Group Dental Clinic will be visiting the Air Base Exchange from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Feb. 9 and 16, 2013. Also, the Dental Clinic will be visiting the Air Base Youth Center Feb. 19 and 20 to offer information and dental supplies.