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Pediatric Dental Clinic Hosts Fair Focused on Good Oral Health


By Lt. Cmdr. Kinau McCoy

Navy Medicine Professional Development Center

Staff from the Naval Postgraduate Dental School and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Pediatric Dental Clinics hosted the “Give Kids a Smile” dental fair in the America Building Feb. 2 to kick off National Children’s Dental Health Month.
Face painting, storytelling, games and hands-on activities highlighted the offerings for children ages 1 to 12 years at the event. In addition, residents from the NPDS Comprehensive and Advanced Education in General Dentistry Program were on hand to provide dental health screenings and caries (or cavities) risk assessments to children, as well as offer parents, caregivers and kids advice and information regarding dental care and the importance of visiting the dentist.
More than 100 beneficiaries attended the event and received information about good oral hygiene, and approximately 50 children received dental screenings at this year’s event.
Dr. Clayton Cheung, a pediatric dentist at WRNMMC who has assisted in coordinating the annual dental fair for the last six years, emphasized “early intervention makes a lifetime of difference.” He said he hopes to be able to expand the fair’s reach in the future and continue to promote the importance of good oral health and nutrition.
The event at WRNMMC was one of five fairs scheduled this month throughout the National Capital Region to promote the importance of establishing healthy habits and good oral hygiene early in our children’s lives. Dentists and dental staff will also visit Child Development Centers at WRNMMC, Fort Detrick, Maryland’s Forest Glen Annex, Annapolis, and Joint Base Myer–Henderson Hall where they will conduct dental screenings for children ages 2 and up, if a permission slip has been signed and returned.
Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) Sabina Yun, chairman of Pediatric Dentistry department at Navy Medicine Professional Development Center and the pediatric dentistry specialty leader to the Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, recommends parents start bringing their child to a dentist as soon as the child’s first tooth erupts and no later than the child’s 1st birthday, which is also the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. In addition, she recommends adults assist children with brushing and flossing until about their 8th birthday or until they can tie their shoes with ease, which is a good gauge of fine motor skills and their ability to effectively clean their teeth.
Army Maj. (Dr.) Sheteka Ross-Goodlett, also a pediatric dentist at WRNMMC, agreed that establishing good habits early in nutrition, oral hygiene, and trauma prevention are the best ways parents can prevent cavities in their child’s baby teeth. She added that dental caries (cavities) is the most common chronic disease in young children, even more so than asthma and hay fever.
Located aboard Naval Support Activity Bethesda, NMPDC has Naval Postgraduate Dental School under its command umbrella and is the only Department of Defense-centralized site for postgraduate dental education and dental specialty training. All specialty training programs at NPDS are fully accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, and between 20 to 25 dental officers graduate each year with specialty board eligible training in endodontics, periodontics, prosthodontics, orofacial pain, oral and maxillofacial pathology, dental public health and comprehensive dentistry.  For more information about NMPDC, visit the website: http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/navmedmpte/Pages/default.aspx