Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Good oral care requires lifetime commitment

Image of Military health personnel, sitting in front of a group of children, showing them how to brush their teeth using a stuffed animal. Dentists from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the Navy Medicine Professional Development Center’s Naval Postgraduate Dental School at WRNMMC, visited the Child Development Center in February 2020 to observe of National Children’s Dental Health Month (Photo by: Bernard Little, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center).

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Children's Health | Total Force Fitness

“The Primary Care Dentistry department has remained open for business during the COVID-19 pandemic, serving the urgent and emergent dental treatment needs of all DOD beneficiaries during normal business hours while prioritizing our in-person scheduled appointments on the readiness-related needs of the active duty population assigned to Naval Support Activity Bethesda and throughout the National Capital Region Market,” stated Navy Capt. (Dr.) Rasha Welch, director of Dental Services at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Good dental hygiene requires a lifetime commitment, and National Children's Dental Health Month, observed during February, highlights that dedication should begin before a child first picks up a toothbrush.

Oral health during pregnancy and infancy is especially important to set little ones up for a lifetime of good health," states the American Academy of Pediatrics. Expectant mothers should eat healthy, brush their teeth and visit their dentist. This advice is included in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "P-E-A-R-L-S of Wisdom" regarding dental health.

The CDC "P-E-A-R-L-S of Wisdom" are:

  • Protect tiny teeth by caring for your mouth when you're pregnant.
  • Ensure to wipe your baby's gums after each meal.
  • Avoid putting babies to bed with a bottle.
  • Remember to brush your child's teeth daily with fluoride toothpaste. For children younger than 2 years, consult with your dentist or doctor about when to start using fluoride toothpaste./p>
  • Limit drinks and food with added sugar for children. Encourage your child to eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer fruit drinks, cookies and candies.
  • Schedule your child's first dental visit by his or her 1st birthday or after their first tooth appears.

In addition, the CDC recommends including foods that are good sources of calcium in children's diets. These foods, including yogurt, broccoli and milk, help build strong teeth.

"Teaching your child about healthy eating habits is one of the best practices for a lifetime of good health," the CDC states.

  • Eat fruits and vegetables for snacks rather than candies and cookies.
  • Brush your child's teeth twice daily.
  • Serve water at mealtime rather than juice or soda.
  • Brush your child's teeth twice daily

People are also encouraged not to use products that can harm teeth, gums and other parts of the body, such as tobacco, which can cause oral cancer and other adverse conditions and diseases.

Despite changes brought on by COVID-19, people still need to visit their dentist on a regular basis for cleanings and exams for possible caries and other dental concerns. Caries, also known as cavities or tooth decay, are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood and even in adults, but they are preventable with proper oral care.

Dental health can also impact the readiness of service members. The Department of Defense classifies service members in one of four categories based on their oral health:

  • Class 1 -- a current dental examination has been completed and no additional dental treatment is needed for 12 months
  • Class 2 -- a current dental examination has been completed, but the member requires non-urgent dental treatment or reevaluation.
  • Class 3 -- a current dental examination as well, but requires urgent or emergent dental treatment.
  • Class 4 -- indicates the member is overdue for an annual dental examination.

Classes 1 and 2 are groups that most service members should fall under, meaning that they are deployable and their oral health shouldn't cause any issues. DOD requires 95 percent dental readiness for all military personnel.

a young boy practices brushing teeth on a stuffed animal
In addition to conducting oral exams, dentists from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the Navy Medicine Professional Development Center’s Naval Postgraduate Dental School at WRNMMC offered the youth tips for a lifetime of healthy oral care, including eating right, brushing twice a day for at least two minutes, flossing and regularly visiting a dentist (Photo by: Bernard Little, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center).

The Primary Care Dentistry department has remained open for business during the COVID-19 pandemic, serving the urgent and emergent dental treatment needs of all DoD beneficiaries during normal business hours while prioritizing our in-person scheduled appointments on the readiness-related needs of the active duty population assigned to Naval Support Activity Bethesda and throughout the National Capital Region Market,” stated Navy Capt. (Dr.) Rasha Welch, director of Dental Services at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Welch added WRNMMC’s two specialty clinics, Oral Maxillofacial Surgery and Hospital Dentistry, have been providing 24/7 emergency care for inpatient and outpatient beneficiaries. “They have leveraged virtual academic capabilities for their residents while also actively engaged in supporting our readiness mission and maintaining the safety and wellness of our patients in active treatment,” she explained.

In response to COVID-19, Welch said all patients and staff members feeling ill should stay home and reschedule appointments.

In addition to the screening that occurs as everyone enters the facility, our dental staff will be administering written screening questionnaires and taking every patient’s temperature prior to any encounter,” Welch added.

Welch and Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) Jared Geller, WRNMMC’s Primary Care Department chief, explained they have modified work practices and the layout of clinical spaces, including the reception area, to allow for adequate social distancing. All visitors are required to wear cloth facemasks in the reception area and hand sanitizer is readily available.

Our staff is taking heightened personal protective equipment measures above and beyond our normally strict adherence to standard precautions,” Welch continued. “This includes the utilization of N95 respirators and face shields by all dental staff members during any aerosol-generating procedure. Finally, additional time are resources are being devoted to the proper cleaning and disinfection of all treatment areas between patients to mitigate any remote possibility of cross-contamination.

For more information about children's oral health, visit the CDC website.

You also may be interested in...

The Chief of the Army Dental Corps Talks Dental Health & Readiness

Article
2/22/2022
The Army’s top dentist talks about what service members should keep in mind about their dental health.

Here’s what the Army’s top dentist thinks service members should keep in mind about their dental health.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Total Force Fitness | TRICARE Dental Care

A Deployed Dentist Recalls His 'One-Chair' Clinic in Afghanistan

Article
2/16/2022
Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Andrew Gutierrez did a tour of duty as a dentist downrange in Afghanistan.

“The soldiers knew whether there was a dentist on base. Those who needed something found me.”

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Dental Care | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness

How 3D-Printed Teeth and Other New Tech are Transforming Dental Care

Article
2/15/2022
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jaden Murry had nearly all of his lower jaw removed because of a tumor. The procedure was the DOD’s first ever immediate jaw reconstruction surgery using 3D-printed teeth.

Advances in dental technology are improving care and increasing the number of patients willing to get treatment when needed.

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Dental Care | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness

Reduce your risk of developing cancer

Article Around MHS
2/15/2022
About one of every three Americans will develop some form of malignancy during his or her lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Genes, lifestyle, and the environment work together to increase or decrease risk of getting cancer. Each person’s cancer risk is made up of a combination of these factors.

Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. 

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness

Women’s Heart Attacks Symptoms Can Differ from Men’s: Know the Signs

Article
2/11/2022
Signs and symptoms of a heart attack can differ between women and men. If you have any of these symptoms, call 911 quickly.

Doctors say women sometimes fail to recognize their unique warnings signs for heart problems.

Recommended Content:

Heart Health Toolkit | Total Force Fitness | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Heart Health | Women's Health

Enjoy Your Super Bowl Snacks with a Side of Food Safety

Article
2/11/2022
Military personnel grilling food

While millions watch NFL players battle it out in the Super Bowl, the real MVPs on Sunday will be chicken wings—more than 1 billion will be consumed before, during and after the game! Whether you bake, roast, fry or order in your chicken wings, don’t forget the four food safety steps that night.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Nutritional Fitness

Heart Health Month 2022

Video
2/11/2022
Heart Health Month 2022

Love letter from your heart. Happy Heart Health Month!

Recommended Content:

Heart Health | Total Force Fitness | Heart Health Toolkit

Don't Fumble Food Safety on Super Bowl Sunday

Article
2/10/2022
Marine with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit participate in a football tournament in Spain.

Here are some USDA food safety tips to enjoy a safe Super Bowl Sunday.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Nutritional Fitness

Why Today’s ‘Gen Z’ is at Risk for Boot Camp Injuries

Article
2/8/2022
Military personnel during boot camp

Today’s military recruits are more likely than ever to sustain a serious injury at their initial military training. Here’re some tips for how to prepare before shipping out.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Nutritional Fitness | Readiness Capabilities | Injury Prevention

Why Dental Health is Essential for Warfighters and Military Readiness

Article
2/4/2022
U.S. Air Force Major Rachael Parrish, 20th Dental Squadron general dentist, performs an oral exam on Airman 1st Class Amie Bickford, 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron munitions technician at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, March 13, 2017. Airmen assigned to the 20th DS are tasked with ensuring airmen and soldiers on base meet all dental class requirements for deployment.

Your mouth is a gateway to your body. Bad oral hygiene can lead to serious health consequences that may affect your military readiness.

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Dental Care | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness

Dentally Unready: Gen. George Washington's Lifetime of Dental Misery

Article
2/3/2022
Visitors to the George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate and museum in Mount Vernon, Virginia, can see George Washington’s only remaining full denture among the collection. They include his own pulled and saved teeth, other human teeth, teeth from cows and horses that were filed to fit, and teeth carved from elephant ivory.

No, George Washington did not have wooden teeth. But he did struggle with dental problems for most of his life.

Recommended Content:

Our History | TRICARE Dental Care | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness

Ask the Doc: Overcoming Your Fear of the Dentist

Article
2/1/2022
Patient getting dental care

Seeing the dentist can be scary. Here are some tips for how to make your next visit easier.

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Dental Care | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Ask The Doc

How a Dietitian Can Help You Lose Weight and Maintain Readiness

Article
1/31/2022
Military personnel posing for a picture with a banana

Working with a professional dietitian or nutritionist can help people reach and maintain their weight management goals safely and with positive, long-term results.

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness | Total Force Fitness

A Healthy Mind and Body: The Psychological Aspects Weight Loss

Article
1/27/2022
Marines with 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, participate in a regimental run to celebrate St. Barbara’s Day at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Jan. 13.

It’s essential to dispel the belief that weight loss is a reflection of willpower or discipline – basically, that you can’t lose weight because you don’t want to or you’re not trying hard enough.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Nutritional Fitness | Psychological Fitness | Weight Management for Lasting Health

The 'BodPod' Measures Body Fat and Fat-Free Mass

Article
1/27/2022
Meagan Loughanne, a health educator at Aberdeen Proving Ground Army Wellness Center, Maryland, conducts a BodPod assessment on Sgt. Abdel P. Moluh. This simple and effective assessment provides clients with an accurate measurement of their body fat percentage, fat-free mass and fat mass in pounds. Based on the client’s goals, the health educator will provide tailored education and coaching.

The BodPod is an egg-shaped machine that will give a detailed analysis of your body composition in five minutes, including measuring your fat mass, your fat-free mass, including blood, organs, and muscle.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Nutritional Fitness | Mobile Apps
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 46 - 60 Page 4 of 14
Refine your search
Last Updated: August 10, 2022

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.