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Dental clinic wants you to join the super smile team

Tech. Sgt. Janet Gouveia, 21st Dental Squadron, assists her sons, Noah (left) with flossing his teeth , and Logan with brushing his teeth. Helping your child brush their teeth is one way for them to be a part of the Super Smile Team. (Photo courtesy Tech. Sgt. Janet Gouveia)

Tech. Sgt. Janet Gouveia, 21st Dental Squadron, assists her sons, Noah (left) with flossing his teeth , and Logan with brushing his teeth. Helping your child brush their teeth is one way for them to be a part of the Super Smile Team. (Photo courtesy Tech. Sgt. Janet Gouveia)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- February is Children's Dental Health month and the 21st Dental Squadron aims to help your children protect their beautiful smile. This year's campaign, sponsored by the American Dental Association, is titled "Join the Super Smile Team."

Tooth decay is one of the most common and preventable childhood diseases. One of the most important roles of dental professionals is to prevent decay through education and encouragement of good oral health practices.

This year, members of the Peterson Dental team will be visiting the child development centers, the base library and the youth center to educate children by conducting hands-on demonstrations of brushing and flossing techniques, along with giving tips on choosing healthy foods.

Parents can help get a jump start on their child's oral health by following these tips:

Start Early
Begin caring for your child's mouth soon after they are born. After each feeding, gently wipe the gums with a soft, damp cloth. Never allow your child to nurse continuously from a bottle of milk, formula or juice.

Establish Good Habits Early
Once the first tooth appears, begin brushing and flossing your child's teeth. "Children under the age of 7 usually do not have the motor skills to do an effective job brushing and flossing their teeth," said Capt. David Jump, general dentist at the Peterson Dental Clinic. "Parents should assist their children until they are at least 7," he said.

Early Dental Visits
Children should have their first dental visit about six months after the first tooth appears. A good way to relieve anxiety about a trip to the dentist is to allow the child to go along with a parent or older sibling when they have their check up.

Help Fight Decay
Water fluoridation is a very effective way to prevent tooth decay. Parts of the Colorado Springs area do not have an adequate amount of fluoride in the water, so check with your dentist or pediatrician for recommendations.

Sealants are another way to help fight decay.

"Dental sealants work by covering up the deep pits and fissures of teeth where the bacteria that cause decay can hide," said Jump.

Protect the Teeth
A mouth guard is a must for anyone playing sports. Most stores carry a generic version, or you can ask your dentist about a custom-fitted tray. A mouth guard will not only protect your child's teeth, but may also lessen the severity of a concussion.

The Peterson Dental Clinic staff is committed to providing the best dental care for our Air Force community, and by following these tips, you can help your child become a member of the Super Smile Team.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui