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354th MDOS raises awareness for Children’s Dental Health Month

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shiermaine Francisco, a 354th Medical Operations Squadron dental assistant, teaches children how to properly brush teeth Feb. 2, 2016, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. According to the Center for Disease Control tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of children ages 6 to 11 years and adolescent’s ages 12 to 19 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Isaac Johnson)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shiermaine Francisco, a 354th Medical Operations Squadron dental assistant, teaches children how to properly brush teeth Feb. 2, 2016, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. According to the Center for Disease Control tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of children ages 6 to 11 years and adolescent’s ages 12 to 19 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Isaac Johnson)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shiermaine Francisco, a 354th Medical Operations Squadron dental assistant, reads a book to children during story time Feb. 2, 2016, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Members of the Eielson Dental Clinic visited children to raise awareness for National Children’s Dental Health month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Isaac Johnson)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shiermaine Francisco, a 354th Medical Operations Squadron dental assistant, reads a book to children during story time Feb. 2, 2016, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Members of the Eielson Dental Clinic visited children to raise awareness for National Children’s Dental Health month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Isaac Johnson)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shiermaine Francisco, a 354th Medical Operations Squadron dental assistant, gives a child a high-five Feb. 2, 2016, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Members of the Eielson Dental Clinic visited children to raise awareness for National Children’s Dental Health month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Isaac Johnson)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shiermaine Francisco, a 354th Medical Operations Squadron dental assistant, gives a child a high-five Feb. 2, 2016, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Members of the Eielson Dental Clinic visited children to raise awareness for National Children’s Dental Health month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Isaac Johnson)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --

Every February the American Dental Association sponsors National Children’s Dental Health month, which brings dental professionals together to raise awareness about the importance of oral hygiene for children.

“This year the ADA is stressing the importance of water fluoridation which has been protecting children’s teeth for more than 70 years,” said Airman 1st Class Ke’ayra Hall, a 354th Medical Operations Squadron dental assistant. “Many communities add appropriate levels of fluoride in the public water supply, which helps promote healthy teeth.  Fluoride is a safe and effective way to prevent tooth decay which is a common childhood disease.”

Children consuming to sugary liquids, such as milk, for extended periods of time run a greater risk of developing tooth decay.

“Cavities are caused when the bacteria in your mouth uses sugar to create an acid that attacks the outer layer of a tooth,” said Hall. “This repeated acid attack can lead to cavities so children should be encouraged to drink more water.”

Although childhood tooth decay is preventable it is still important that children visit the dentist on a regular basis.

“It’s important for children to have their first dentist visit within their first year of life,” said Master Sgt. Susan Liebig, a 354th MDOS dental hygienist. “It may seem early, but it allows the child to become more comfortable and used to seeing the dentist.”

For questions or concerns, please visit the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry at www.aapd.org, the ADA at www.ada.org or contact your local dentist.