Back to Top Skip to main content
Alert Arrow ALERT!!

There are emergency procedures in place for parts of world due to weather.

Get the latest information on emergency prescription refills and PCM referral waivers. 

Poor dental health leading cause of readiness issues

Air Force Lt. Col. Val Hagans and Army Spc. Laketa Bryant extract a patient's wisdom teeth at Kirkuk Regional Air Base, Iraq in 2010. (Photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Tabitha Kuykendall)  Air Force Lt. Col. Val Hagans and Army Spc. Laketa Bryant extract a patient's wisdom teeth at Kirkuk Regional Air Base, Iraq in 2010. (Photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Tabitha Kuykendall)

Recommended Content:

Dental Care | Deployment Health | Reserve Health Readiness Program

In 2008, 40 percent of DoD Selected Reserve troops were classified as unfit for duty for a surprising reason: dental readiness. Many others sent downrange developed dental problems during deployment.

“When they reported to their deployment centers before leaving the U.S., they said their teeth didn’t hurt and were told they were deployable, said Army Col. David DuBois, dental surgeon for the U.S. Army’s Reserve Command. “When they got to their destination, it turned into a disaster.”

To correct the situation, the services put new dental programs in place. In the past eight years, the services have reduced the proportion of unfit troops due to dental problems from 40 percent of all military reservists to 10 percent.

“Historically, dental readiness was the most problematic Department of Defense individual medical readiness requirement,” said Army Col. James Honey, chief of TRICARE dental care section. “But we put more resources on the problem and now see better dental readiness within the services.”

One such program, the Army Selected Reserve Dental Readiness System, which uses the Reserve Health Readiness Program as the primary contract vehicle, allows soldiers to receive no-cost examinations, as well as treatment of Dental Fitness Classification (DFC) 3 conditions at no cost, helping commanders at all levels reach unit dental ready status. It also sends reminders to soldiers about upcoming dental appointments and tracks dental readiness to prevent the need for examination and DFC 3 treatment when the unit is alerted and arrives at the mobilization station.

Honey said enhancements to prevention and access to dental care help increase readiness for all service members.

“We see this as the same as any physical fitness requirement or wearing the uniform properly,” said Honey. “We expect everyone to have dental readiness.”

Teeth have to be as healthy as possible before deployment because rough conditions in deployed locations can tax the body’s abilities to respond to health issues, including dental problems. DuBois said the choice between dental care at home and dental care downrange is obvious.

“If I had to choose between a nice, air-conditioned office or a makeshift clinic in tough conditions, I know which one I would want,” said DuBois. “It’s much better to take care for this stuff at home.”

You also may be interested in...

Eat an apple a day, but don't keep the dentist away

Article
3/27/2018
A child eats an apple during a Trunk-or-Treat event, which featured a healthy snack station as an alternative to candy, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jimmie D. Pike)

Good oral health takes more than brushing teeth and flossing – it also requires proper nutrition

Recommended Content:

Deployment Health | Health Readiness | Nutrition | Preventive Health

Rocky and Elmo want providers to "Watch. Ask. Share."

Article
2/12/2018
Defense Health Agency Director Vice Admiral Raquel “Rocky” Bono joined Sesame Street’s Elmo to record a welcome video for the new provider section of the Sesame Street for Military Families website. (Photo by MHS Communications)

How DHA teamed with Sesame Street to help care for military families

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care | Public Health | Preventive Health | Children's Health | Deployment Health

Battlefield acupuncture shows promising results downrange

Article
12/27/2017
Research has shown how beneficial battlefield acupuncture can be in combat settings. Not only does it reduce the use of medication with potentially harmful side effects, administering BFA is an easy and highly effective tool for pain management. (Air Force photo)

Research has shown how beneficial battlefield acupuncture can be in combat settings

Recommended Content:

Deployment Health

Let’s get moving: Physical therapy from a provider’s perspective

Article
12/19/2017
A career spent in the infantry coupled with an active lifestyle led to 12 knee surgeries for U.S. Army Gen. Robert B. Brown, Commanding General of U.S. Army Pacific. Shown here (center) greeting soldiers at the National Training Center Fort Irwin, Calif., Brown credits an effective physical therapy regimen for getting him back in the field. (U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Spandau)

Two providers and a former patient share insight into the role of physical therapists, as well as the benefits of seeking help and committing to a program

Recommended Content:

Physical Activity | Deployment Health

Military Kids Connect provides online resources to help children cope and thrive

Article
4/25/2017
Military Kids Connect is an online community for children ages 6-17 years old, providing access to age-appropriate resources to help with the unique psychological challenges of military life.

Children with parents in the military face a lot of challenges to their psychological health; the Military Kids Connect website gives them resources to deal with these challenges

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Mental Health Care | Deployment Health

What's Changing Under the TRICARE Dental Program?

Infographic
4/19/2017
Changes are coming to the TRICARE Dental Program.  Under the TRICARE Dental Program, access to care is guaranteed.  Premiums are lower for all beneficiaries, while including $200 more in benefits per year.  Preventative sealants are now fully covered, and automatic enrollment for children now occurs at age 4.  Additionally, the TRICARE Dental program also features enhanced benefits for enrollees with chronic conditions and special needs.  To find a dentist, visit the TRICARE dental network online at http://www.uccitdp.com.  For more information about improvements to the TRICARE Dental Program, visit https://go.usa.gov/xXQRr.  For general information about the TRICARE Dental Program, visit https://www.tricare.mil/tdp, or call 1-844-652-4061 for CONUS inquiries or 1-844-653-4060 for OCONUS inquiries.

Beginning May 1, 2017, United Concordia will assume responsibility for administering the TRICARE Dental Program, replacing the outgoing dental contractor, MetLife. With the new contract comes enhanced benefits and other changes. You can learn more at www.tricare.mil/tdp.

Recommended Content:

Dental Care

Getting back on track: Changing your behavior to achieve goals

Article
4/17/2017
Tracking how you behave in situations related to your goal can help you detect which of your habits or behaviors may cause you to fail. Identifying the behaviors that led you off track is the way to help you understand what works for you and get you back on track. (U.S. Air Force photo by Bill Evans)

Tracking how you behave in situations related to your goal can help you detect which of your habits or behaviors may cause you to fail

Recommended Content:

Deployment Health | Operation Live Well

Military dentists do much more than ‘drill and fill’

Article
3/21/2017
U.S. Army Capt. John Mann (left), 129th Area Support Medical Company dentist, prepares dental instruments for an exam at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Dental technicians perform oral cleanings, prepare dental instruments and assist dentists with procedures. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justyn M. Freeman)

Dentists do a range of tasks to make sure patients are well taken care of, including cleaning teeth, educating people about dental hygiene and ensuring that everyone is comfortable and knowledgeable about what is going on during a dental visit

Recommended Content:

Dental Care

Upcoming exercises in Latin America help Air Force achieve total dental readiness

Article
3/7/2017
Eduardo Sanchez, a Dominican student, gets his teeth repaired at the Rio San Juan clinic, Dominican Republic.  Sanchez is one of more than 400 patients that received dental care during a Dental Readiness Training Exercise, an exercise where U.S. military dentists and dental technicians partnered with dental professionals from the Dominican Republic, and practiced their craft in an expeditionary environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Chenzira Mallory)

Air Force dentists, hygienists and dental technicians are gearing up for three Dental Readiness Training Exercises in Latin America

Recommended Content:

Dental Care | Health Readiness

Oral health matters

Article
3/3/2017
A Soldier with C Company, 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment brushes his teeth on a cold morning at the Victory Forge field training exercise on Fort Jackson, South Carolina. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton)

Despite advances in dental care and hygiene, deployed service members are still at risk of ‘trench mouth’ – technically referred to as necrotizing periodontal disease

Recommended Content:

Dental Care | Human Performance Resource Center

February is National Children's Dental Health Month

Article
2/6/2017
From left, Air Force Staff Sgt. Soohwa Ono, Senior Airman Vanessa Rivas and Capt. Daniel Chartrand promote pediatric oral hygiene at the Kelly Child Development Center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kevin Iinuma)

The dental community is reaching out and educating teachers and parents on the importance of establishing good oral habits and hygiene

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Dental Care

Proper dental care can prevent disease

Article
2/1/2017
Navy Lt. Michelle Romeo teaches a first-grade student proper brushing techniques during  Dental Health Month at Graham A. Barden Elementary School in Havelock N.C. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Grace L. Waladkewics)

More than fighting bad breath or preventing gingivitis, research shows that dental health also contributes to the overall well-being of people

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Health Readiness | Dental Care

Military spouses and kids: Staying resilient

Article
12/22/2016
A pilot is greeted by his family during a homecoming celebration at Naval Air Station, Oceana. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alysia R. Hernandez)

As a military spouse, you have a lot on your plate – and if you’re also a parent, you have to balance those challenges with the needs of your children

Recommended Content:

Deployment Health | Mental Health Care | Mental Wellness | Children's Health

Deployments can be 'significant stressor' for families but help is available

Article
10/7/2016
A sailor returning from a seven-month deployment reunites with his family. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andre T. Richard)

While deployments can be stressful on the families of those deployed, there are a few tips families can follow to help alleviate some of the stress and resources they can turn to for support

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care | Deployment Health

DCOE Annual Report 2014

Report
7/16/2015

Annual Report for the Defense Center of Excellence - 2014

Recommended Content:

Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy | Mental Health Care | Traumatic Brain Injury | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Suicide Prevention | DoD/VA Sharing Initiatives | Deployment Health
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 6

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing: Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.