Shaw dental clinic gives kids a smile

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ashley Maldonado
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 20th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron dental clinic partnered with the American Dental Association to promote good dental hygiene through the “Give Kids A Smile” program, Feb. 21.

“Give Kids A Smile” is a nationwide, community-based movement aimed at prevention of childhood dental cavities.

As part of the program, the 20th OMRS dental clinic team offered 40 appointments for military (active-duty, retiree, reservist or guard on active-duty orders) children between the ages of two and 12 to be seen on base.

“The Shaw AFB dental team wanted to partner with this organization since here at Shaw we do not see children given that our active-duty population is so large,” said Tech. Sgt. Jonna Berry, 20th OMRS dental clinic clinical element chief. “Partnering with this organization allowed us to provide the supplies needed to see children, and it allowed us to expand our skillset as clinicians since we may be tasked to do a humanitarian mission in our career.”

Services provided to the children during this event included dental exams, preventative treatments, sealants as needed, fluoride treatment and education of dental hygiene.

Berry said dental cavities is the number one disease among children. Most people only spend 45 to 70 seconds brushing their teeth and the recommended amount of time is two minutes for children and adults.

To further spread the word about the importance of dental hygiene, a few 20th OMRS dental clinic team members visited four classrooms in the 20th Force Support Squadron Child Development Center.

The children learned the proper way to brush their teeth and received light-up toothbrushes by the end of the CDC visit.

When leaving the classrooms, many of the children shouted, “Thank you, dentist!”

Barry said, if parents and children at an early age are educated about proper oral hygiene, the less likely they will develop cavities and the more likely they will create healthy habits.

“Introduce tooth brushing as soon as your baby has their first tooth, letting them chew on the tooth brush allows them to get used to the feeling of the bristles and gets them used to having a toothbrush in their mouth,” said Berry. “The older a child is when a toothbrush is given to them the more hesitation they will have about using it.”

She suggests to always water down fruit juices to help prevent cavities. One can also substitute sugar in other homemade drinks with artificial sweetener or monk fruit extract.

“Just about every candy comes in the form of sugar-free, use the internet it’s your best friend for finding these treats,” said Berry. “Last but not least: if your child falls or has any trauma to their mouth and a tooth falls out that is a permanent (adult) tooth immediately pick it up and get it into milk as soon as possible. Yes, I said milk. Then, get to your dentist as soon as possible; doing this may save the tooth.”

Through this event, the 20th OMRS dental clinic team filled this cavity for Team Shaw children’s health.