FORT IRWIN, Calif. — The Fort Irwin Dental Command (DENTAC) hosted its very first Tooth Decay 2K Run/Walk to promote children’s dental health awareness, here, March 11.
Lt. Col. Kelley Tomsett, commander of Fort Irwin DENTAC, credited the idea to her senior non-commissioned officer’s (NCO) daughter who found it difficult to say tooth decay. When trying to say tooth decay it sounded like “too kay” sparking the concept of having a tooth decay 2K.
The idea built up into something great for the community, focusing on families with children and pets, to provide awareness to children’s dental health. During the month of February a team of registered dental hygienist and dentist visits all of the schools to do a screening of each child. Each school age child is seen by a provider at least once a year, which is beneficial for children who don’t have access to dental care. The dental team put on skits for the children, making it fun to learn about dental hygiene.
One of the most important things Tomsett would like people to know about dental hygiene in children is, “to be aware of sugar in kids’ diets, particularly drinks like soda pop or even Kool-Aid.” She elaborated, “When not brushing on a regular basis that sugary mixture sits around in the mouth causing dental decay.” Another concern in children dental health is baby bottle tooth decay. There are a lot of sugar in formula and when using a bottle to put an infant down for sleep can cause baby bottle caries.
Tomsett was extremely happy with the turnout of DENTAC’s first Tooth Decay 2K run/walk. “With the providers tied up at the chair, it’s the enlisted who take the intentions of the command and make it happen,” she stated. She also credited success to supporting commands like, MEDDAC, organization across the installation, and the NTC Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Jeff Broadwater, for keeping dental readiness and wellness numbers up across the installation.
The Tooth Decay 2K was not only a tool to provide children dental health awareness within the community, but a fundraiser as well. DENTAC plans on using the proceeds to help offset costs of their Army Medical Department ball this year.