February serves as a reminder for kid’s dental health

  • Published
  • By Mitch Shaw
  • 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
With February designated as National Children's Dental Health Month, now is a good time to make sure kids have regular checkups and are brushing two to three times a day.

According to the American Dental Association, the annual observance of children's dental health began as a one-day event in Cleveland, Ohio on Feb. 3, 1941. The American Dental Association held the first national observance of Children's Dental Health Day on February 8, 1949.

This single day observance became a week-long event in 1955. In 1981, the program was extended to a month-long celebration known today as National Children's Dental Health Month.

"Children's Dental Health Month is a good reminder to get your kids to the dentist," said Staff Sgt. Misty Mitchell, 75th Dental Squadron. "Seeing the dentist early and often is essential for children's dental health and can stop future problems before they start."

On Tuesday, Sergeant Mitchell and other staff members from the Hill Air Force Base Dental Clinic visited the Child Development Center to encourage good dental health.

"Keeping it positive and fun is the objective with kids," Sergeant Mitchell said.

According Dr. Julie McDonald, 75th Dental Squadron, seeing the dentist at an early age helps children form a positive attitude about their dental health.

"Children should visit the dentist early," Dr. McDonald said. "Kids need to develop a positive attitude about the dentist, and that means taking them early before problems arise."

Dr. McDonald said that children can visit the dentist as soon as their teeth start to show and should visit no later than their first birthday.

"The first appointment is usually a short one where the dentist looks inside the child's mouth and makes a quick assessment of the child's status," Dr. McDonald said. "Much of the first appointment involves educating parents."

"An early trip to the dentist can reinforce good habits such as not putting the child to bed with a bottle and limiting foods that can contribute to cavities," Dr. McDonald said. "We also show the parents some good techniques for brushing their children's teeth."

For children who require additional dental treatment after preliminary check-ups, there is now expanded coverage under TRICARE. New legislation will cover anesthesia services and institutional costs for treatment of beneficiaries with developmental, mental or physical disabilities, and children age 5 or under.

For more information go to www.tricare.osd.mil/pressroom/news.aspx?fid=247. To contact the Hill Dental Clinic, call 586-9612. The Hill Dental clinic is for active-duty members only.