USNH Yokosuka's Pediatric Dental Department make super smiles
YOKOSUKA, Japan. (NNS) -- U.S. Naval Hospital (USNH) Yokosuka's pediatric dentistry department is taking their practice to base elementary schools and childcare centers throughout February to teach children the importance of oral hygiene.
February is American Dental Association's (ADA) National Children's Dental Health Month. The dentists are screening and educating more than 1,200 children throughout the month.
"The main goal is to raise awareness of good dental health and hygiene habits as well as diet," said Lt. Cmdr. Monserrat Jorden a pediatric dentist at USNH Yokosuka.
Along with the screenings, dental professionals are playing a cartoon video as a light-hearted way to show children the benefits of brushing their teeth and the benefits a good diet has on their teeth.
Jorden emphasizes the impacts starting good hygiene from a young age has on overall health of children.
"Dental diseases are one of the most present diseases in childhood," said Jorden. "If we identify these problems early on then parents can bring their children in to the hospital so we (the primary care dentists) can take care of those issues. When children are seen by their dentist early they are less likely to develop infections, they can eat better, and even perform better in school."
These dental screenings are a way to make a first impression on children and ease their fear of dentists according to Hospital Corpsman Seaman Kyle Guyer, a dental technician assigned to USNH Yokosuka.
Guyer talked about how some children were a little shy at first but after a quick demonstration of just how simple the screenings are they were eager to show off their pearly whites so the dentists could take a peek.
Another way to get the children involved in dental health and to help ease fears about going to the dentist is for them to participate in a poster contest where children created posters based on the ADA's theme "Join The Super Smile Team."
The dental team walked away with super smiles of their own having accomplished their mission of promoting good oral hygiene and making a trip to the dentist less scary.
"The children had so many questions and I was glad I could talk to them about eating right and also help them understand what dentists are doing," said Guyer.
For more information about dental health, visit the ADA's website at www.ada.org or the pediatric dentistry providers at USNH Yokosuka.
For more news from U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka, visit www.navy.mil/local/nhyoko/.