NEWS | Feb. 1, 2012

Dental clinic keeps children smiling

By Airman 1st Class Tom Brading Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Every February, the American Dental Association sponsors National Children's Dental Health Month to raise awareness of the importance of children's oral health.

According to the 2012 NCDHA website, the campaign brings together thousands of dedicated dental professionals, health care providers and others to promote the benefits of good oral health to children and adults, caregivers, teachers and many others.

Joint Base Charleston - Air Base dental professionals are scheduled to participate in the month-long observation.
The 628th Medical Group - Dental clinic is scheduled to have representatives at the Child Development Center at JB Charleston - Air Base Feb. 9, to educate children on the benefits of practicing and reinforcing positive dental hygiene.

"Children's dental health is extremely important," said Senior Airman Kristin Bruce, 628th Medical Group dental assistant. "Good dental care and dental hygiene is vital to good overall health. Children need strong, healthy teeth to chew their food, speak and have a good-looking smile. Baby teeth also keep a space in the jaw for permanent teeth. When a baby tooth is lost too early, that space is not maintained. This can cause permanent teeth to come in crooked or crowded."

Children's dental health starts even before the teeth arrive.
"Parents should begin cleaning the baby's mouth during the first few days after birth," said Bruce. "After every feeding, wipe the baby's gums with a damp gauze pad to remove plaque."

The ADA recommends a visit to the dentist within six months of the eruption of the first tooth and no later than the child's first birthday. In addition, it isn't recommended to permit a baby to nurse continuously from bottles of milk, formula, sugar water or fruit juice during naps or at night. Early signs of tooth decay may be a result.
"Around the age of seven, children are able to brush their teeth on their own," said Bruce. "Until then, it's recommended that parents brush and floss their children's teeth as soon as they start to erupt."

The 628th Medical Group Dental Clinic hopes that continuing education of dental health keeps children smiling for many years to come.