Lt. Col. David Schlaack, a
Fort McCoy dentist, shows children how to brush their teeth, while
Staff Sgt. Michelle Housen (left) and Candace Hendersin watch. (Photo
by Rob Schuette)
1st Class Alexis Brown of the Fort McCoy Dental Readiness Center said
the organization planned the event to help support Soldiers and their
families and to help celebrate the 60th anniversary of the observance,
which began in 1949.
thing is, we take care of the Soldiers so why not take care of their
families, as well," Brown said.
Col. David Schlaack, Staff Sgt. Michelle Housen, and Candace Hendersin
from the Fort McCoy Dental Readiness Center were the presenters.
Schlaack is a dentist, and Housen is a dental assistant. Hendersin is
a dental hygienist.
showed children the proper brushing/flossing techniques and also
talked about proper nutrition to help maintain cavity-free teeth.
Children were shown the proper way to brush their teeth on a plush
dinosaur character, "Dino the Dental Dinosaur," and on an
oversized replica of gums and teeth.
children have a tendency to be frightened when making their first
dental visit," Schlaack said. "We hope that by incorporating
some fun into the experience, children will be less apprehensive about
going to a dentist."
dental personnel mixed in a question-and-answer session to help
explain the importance of taking proper care of their teeth. While one
member of the class answered "a dentist takes out teeth"
when asked what a dentist does, the facts are that a dentist does a
lot more and is very focused on taking proper care of teeth so they
last for a long time, Schlaack said.
learned they have 20 teeth while adults have 32 teeth. Everyone should
brush their teeth in the morning and at night and especially after
having a sugary treat, such as a lollipop or a can of soda, Hendersin
said. Otherwise, they may develop cavities or a toothache. Flossing
also is important.
help people take care of their teeth so they can eat well, smile and
be happy," Schlaack said. "Hopefully, you’ll have your
teeth until you’re 81 or even 100."
noted the goal of the dental team is for everyone to have teeth that
are strong and healthy.
a good diet, including such food as apples, can help protect teeth.
Because teeth are made of bones, drinking milk can help make them
strong so people don’t get cavities.
and hygienists get their jobs by going to school for a very long
time," Hendersin told the children. "Brushing and flossing
are important. When you’re done it’s good to have mom and dad
check to ensure you get all your teeth."
Tadisch, a program assistant for Fort McCoy Child, Youth and School
Services, said the children, who range in age from 3-to 5-years-old,
were very excited and enthusiastic about the dental team’s visit.
will remember what they’ve heard," Tadisch said. "They’ll
play act they’re a dentist or a hygienist taking care of teeth.
Every time one of them (the team) comes over to visit their child or
the children here, they’ll have a lot of questions to ask
McCoy Garrison Command Sergeant Major Command Sgt. Maj. M. Kevin
Dubois, who attended the dental fair, said the Dental Readiness Center
also plays a vital role in Soldier readiness.
staff and Soldiers assigned to the Dental Readiness Center provide an
invaluable service to Fort McCoy by ensuring that we are deployable in
accordance with Army Medical Regulations," Dubois said.
child received a bag filled with treats, including a toothbrush kit,
stickers and educational materials they could take home and share with
their parents. One of the items that drew the children’s particular
attention was a miniature plastic tooth treasure chest where they can
enclose the first tooth they lose and put it under their pillow to
encourage a visit from the "Tooth Fairy."
American Dental Association sponsors National Children’s Dental
Health Month. The month is used to raise awareness about the
importance of oral health.
good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps
children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
program also serves as good support to the Army Family Covenant where
supporting a Soldier’s family helps increase the readiness of
Soldiers, Brown said. That’s because they know even if they can’t
be present at home because of their duty their family members are
being taken care of.
more information about dental health in the Fort McCoy community,
military personnel can contact Brown at 608-388-2719.