Back to Top Skip to main content

Children's Dental Health Month: What parents need to know

Air Force Senior Airman Caitlyn Hollowell, 81st Dental Squadron dental technician, prepares to take an x-ray on Katelyn Landolt. February is Children’s Dental Health Month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue) Air Force Senior Airman Caitlyn Hollowell, 81st Dental Squadron dental technician, prepares to take an x-ray on Katelyn Landolt. February is Children’s Dental Health Month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Recommended Content:

Children's Health

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. — February is Children’s Dental Health Month and parents need to know what to look out for to make sure their children have great dental health.

Teaching children about taking care of their teeth can be challenging, but it is important to ensure a good foundation for building lifelong habits of oral hygiene and health for them as they grow up.

There is a common misconception about infants' and toddlers' teeth being less important than adult teeth since they aren’t permanent, but this idea can lead to harmful conditions in a child’s mouth including Early Childhood Caries.

Early Childhood Caries is when one or more baby teeth in a child zero to six-years-old has decayed, missing (due to decay), or has had a filling in their mouth. Bacteria that live in our mouths cause tooth decay. The main source of food for bacteria is sugar. When the bacteria eat sugar, they produce an acid that can break down the surface of the teeth.

Here are some tips to prevent ECC in your child and give them a head start in oral hygiene:

  • Take your children to early and regular dental exams. A baby’s first dental appointment should be scheduled within six months of their first tooth, but no later than their first birthday.
  • Minimize saliva-sharing activities between parents/caregivers to limit bacteria transmission.
  • Don’t put your children to bed with a bottle of milk, formula or juice. The sugars in these drinks can sit on your child’s teeth all night and cause decay.
  • Limit snacking on simple carbohydrates such as cereal, crackers, cookies, white bread and Gatorade. These have sugars that feed the cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth.
  • Brush or rinse your child’s teeth after administering sugary medications.
  • Brush your child’s teeth twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste.

“This is important because it prevents bacteria from continuing to grow, which may eventually lead to other dental diseases,” said Army Sergeant 1st Class Michelle Newman, Tignor Dental Clinic NCO in charge at Fort Eustis.

Keeping your children’s teeth clean is important, but dental health also includes checking for injuries.

If a parent knows their child was injured in the mouth, they should check for bleeding, tooth displacement, tooth fracture or persistent pain. If any of these symptoms are visible, a visit to the dentist is appropriate. The dentist will be able to establish a baseline for the tooth in case of future changes. It is common for a baby’s tooth to turn gray after being hit, but should not be of worry.

For children with permanent teeth, chipping while being injured is common. If a parent can locate the chipped part, they should take it with them to a dentist appointment because it can be bonded back on.

Permanent teeth can also fall out due to injury. In this case, a parent should take proper measures to possibly save the tooth:

  • Act quickly and make sure the tooth spends as little time possible outside of the mouth.
  • Do not scrub off any dirt from the tooth because the tooth has cells on the root that are vital for the tooth to be reattached. The scrubbing can remove these cells. Gently rinse the tooth if needed and place it back in the tooth socket.
  • Have your child gently bite down on a cloth to stabilize the tooth in its proper position and get to the dentist as soon as possible.
  • If a parent is uncomfortable with any of these procedures, put the tooth in milk and get to the dentist as soon as possible.

With these tips, parents can better understand how to handle certain scenarios and potentially save their child’s tooth.

Disclaimer: Re-published content may have been edited for length and clarity. Read original post.

You also may be interested in...

Teddy bear health clinic

Article
5/17/2019
A corpsman teaches a child how stethoscopes work. During the Teddy Bear Health Clinic, children received a teddy bear, went from station to station making sure their new friend was healthy. The bears received patient identification bracelets, had their blood pressure taken, their hearts listened to, hearing tested, and even experienced an x-ray. The goal was to introduce children to different departments in the hospital and help alleviate any anxiety during future appointments or potential hospital stays. (U.S. Navy photo by Christina Clarke)

The clinic went through six boxes of teddy bears in just two hours

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Mother's Day a chance to highlight care in the Military Health System

Article
5/8/2019
The Nunns with daughter Sabella and son Gideon. (Courtesy file photo)

The Military Health System helps deliver more than 100,000 babies each year

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Children's Health | Women's Health

DHA PI 6025.16: Processes and Procedures for Implementation of Standardized Perinatal Training

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (p), establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) procedures to describe standard processes and criteria for developing and sustaining comprehensive systems to provide, assess, and monitor standardized perinatal training for military medical personnel providing services to mothers and infants.

  • Identification #: 6025.16
  • Date: 4/30/2019
  • Type: DHA Procedural Instruction
  • Topics: Children's Health

Preteens, teens target audience for HPV vaccine

Article
4/29/2019
Students from the Oceanside Unified School District enjoy team-building and mentoring activities at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. Health care experts recommend the HPV vaccine for preteens and teens to protect against human papillomavirus, which is linked to several types of cancer. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Drake Nickels)

Inoculation has 'huge potential' to reduce cancer cases

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Public Health

Pediatric medical services providers increase access to care for beneficiaries

Article
4/23/2019
Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Jason Caboot, pediatric pulmonologist, Madigan Army Medical Center, examines Jacob Schaff, an established pediatric specialty care patient at Naval Hospital Bremerton, Washington. The Schaff’s often find themselves traveling throughout the Puget Sound area to seek the specialty care Jacob requires. (U.S. Navy photo by Emily Yeh)

Pediatric medical services providers established a program that increases access to care for beneficiaries

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Children's Health

DHA ‘delivers’ nurses for babies

Article
4/16/2019
Air Force Col. Michelle Aastrom, 81st Inpatient Operation Squadron commander, discusses the intensive care unit capabilities with Army Maj. Gen. Ronald Place, Defense Health Agency, director, for the National Capital Region Medical Directorate and Transition Intermediate Management Organization, during an immersion tour inside the Keesler Medical Center at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, recently. The purpose of Place's two-day visit was to become more familiar with the medical center's mission capabilities and to receive the status of the 81st Medical Group's transition under DHA. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Every month Keesler Medical Center’s Labor and Delivery Clinic averages approximately 35 births

Recommended Content:

Implementation of MHS Transition | Children's Health | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Measles vaccine protects against potentially serious illness

Article
4/4/2019
A Salvadoran nurse vaccinates a baby during a Task Force Northstar mission in El Salvador to provide medical care and other humanitarian and civic assistance. The mission involved U.S. military personnel working alongside their Brazilian, Canadian, Chilean, and Salvadoran counterparts. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Kim Browne)

387 cases to date among civilian population

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Vaccine Recommendations | Children's Health

Elmo comes to Madigan

Article
4/3/2019
Sesame Street's Walkaround Elmo visited Madigan Army Medical Center families on April 1 to celebrate the seven-year anniversary of Military Kids Connect and the recent relaunch of its website. (U.S. Army photo by Ryan Graham)

Elmo began helping military kids and families with deployments and other military stressors in 2006

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Pediatric clinic works to keep children healthy

Article
3/22/2019
Air Force Senior Airman Shania Stanford, 366th Medical Support Squadron pediatric clinic aerospace medical technician, checks Jude's vitals during an appointment at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The pediatric clinic takes care of Airmen and their families by ensuring the overall health of their children. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Andrew Kobialka)

The pediatric clinic’s objective is to care for children from birth to the age of 18

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Brush, clean in between to build a healthy smile

Article
2/5/2019
Jordyn Pafford, sixth grader, receives a dental screening conducted by Capt. James Lee, a general dentist. (U.S. Army photo by Lance D. Davis)

Children who have poor oral health often miss more school

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Dental Care

Report on Plan to Improve Pediatric Care and Related Services for Children of Members of the Armed Forces

Congressional Testimony
12/26/2018

HR 2810, NDAA Conference Report for FY 2018, Sec 733

Recommended Content:

Children's Health

Paying attention, knowing the signs: How teenagers can help save a life

Article
9/27/2018
Air Force Maj. William Logan, a chaplain with the 35th Fighter Wing, holds a picture of his son, Zac, who committed suicide. Suicide among teenagers remains a concern. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jordyn Fetter)

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for teens, young adults

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Children's Health | Suicide Prevention

Stopping bullying takes understanding, involvement

Article
9/7/2018
Children can experience social withdrawal, anxiety, and depression as a result of bullying. From the Stop Bullying campaign to Military OneSource, resources are available to help parents and their families identify and address bullying (U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Jamal D. Sutter)

Bullying can leave visible and invisible wounds and have lasting effects on children and teenagers. Signs of the behavior can vary, and bullying others and being bullied are not mutually exclusive, experts say.

Recommended Content:

Mental Wellness | Children's Health | Suicide Prevention

Don't let the bugs bite

Article
8/2/2018
Using an insect repellent spray can be an important measure in guarding against bites from fleas, ticks and mosquitoes this summer.

Most parents do a good job of protecting their kids from the sun, but they also need to consider why it's important to guard against potentially harmful insect bites and stings

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Summer Safety | Bug Week

USAISR burn flight team deploys to Guatemala

Article
7/6/2018
Army Capt. Argelia Felix-Camacho, a critical care nurse at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center and member of the USAISR Burn Center Burn Flight Team comforts a patient in Guatemala before a flight to the Shriner's Hospital for Children in Galveston, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Corenthia Fennell)

The patients -- all children needing specialized treatment -- and the teamwork between the Army and Air Force ensured the patients' safe transport from Guatemala to the U.S.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Civil Military Medicine | Civil Support | Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief
<< < 1 2 3 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 3

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.