Teach Children to Love Their Teeth
By: Charlotte Caldwell
TRICARE Management Activity
Show children how to love their teeth this month and all year long. During National Children’s Dental Month, parents can teach their children healthy oral care tips and schedule annual check-ups with their family dentist.
“Forming healthy oral care habits during childhood is important.” said Lt. Col. Kathleen Gates, acting TRICARE Dental Branch Chief. “Beginning a healthy routine as a child encourages healthy behavior into adulthood.”
Eligible TRICARE beneficiaries not on active duty have two options for dental care coverage, the TRICARE Dental Program or the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program. Both dental programs cover dependent children for routine dental care such as annual exams, cleanings and x-rays, as well as dental emergencies and orthodontics. Costs and coverage details vary according to program and enrollment status, and the type of care received. Interested active duty family members, National Guard and Reserve members and their families can get more information or enroll at www.tricare.mil/dental.
Brushing and flossing daily are important tools to prevent cavities and gum disease caused by food debris and drink residue left in the mouth. Bacteria in the mouth use these to form plaque that can damage teeth and gums and cause cavities. To remove plaque and maintain healthy teeth, the American Dental Association recommends children brush at least twice a day. Brushing in the morning after waking up and again before going to bed should be a regular part of every child’s daily routine.
Teaching children healthy oral care habits is not just important for healthy smiles, but for their overall health in the future. The good oral care habits children form while they are young can help keep them healthy as adults. For more information or to enroll in a TRICARE dental program go to www.tricare.mil/dental.
*Active duty service members are not eligible for either dental program and must coordinate their dental care through their dental treatment facility.