THE CLINICAL ORAL HEALTH AND HEALTH PROMOTION PROGRAM
The program consists of measures provided in Army dental clinics to prevent
injury and oral disease and to promote health. This objective is achieved through
annual dental exams for all personnel during their birth month. In addition to the exam,
the patient is given a prophylaxis, a fluoride application, counseling on oral hygiene
instruction, nutrition and tobacco and a follow-up appointment for any needed corrective
a. Community Education. A major portion of the community preventive
dentistry program has been fluoridation of the water supply of all military installations
when economically and technically feasible. Fluoridation of the water supply is the
single most effective means of caries prevention in younger children today. AR 40-35
also mandates that each installation operate a preventive dentistry program for children
(PDPC). This includes a yearly oral screening examination, a fluoride application, and,
when appropriate, pit and fissure sealants. Also included are on-site school visits to
teach brushing, flossing, and proper nutrition. Many preventive dentistry officers
participate in radio and television interviews and publish articles in local newspapers to
educate the community. Certainly not as well known as caries prevention, but just as
important, is the Army's fabrication of protective mouth guards for family members and
military athletes to prevent traumatic injuries. An excellent source of support for the
community prevention program comes from organizations such as the Red Cross,
parent-teacher associations, scouts, and military wives' clubs.
b. Research. To understand the causes and possible cures of oral disease and
to develop more efficient and effective dental techniques, research must be conducted.
A great number of advances in the dental profession have been produced at the US
Army Institute of Dental Research (USAIDR) in Washington, DC. Along with several
private civilian organizations and with Army support, research is constantly being
conducted to produce new materials and techniques.
PREVENTIVE DENTISTRY TERMS
a. Preventive Dentistry. This philosophy of health service embraces general
dentistry and recognizes preventive aspects of treating teeth and oral tissues. It also
recognizes prevention of oral disease in the population through organized programs of
oral health education, fluoridation, oral disease detection, dental research, and use of
auxiliary personnel. Prevention has always been part of the Army Dental Corps'
mission in its efforts to preserve the oral health of Army personnel. Accomplishment of
the mission, especially in modern warfare, emphasizes the importance of preventive
dentistry in the Army.
b. Oral Hygiene. This term refers to measures designed to minimize oral
disease. These measures usually include, scaling, cleaning, polishing, application of pit
and fissure sealants, and topical fluoride application. Oral hygiene also includes the
practice of personal oral physiotherapy to maintain cleanliness.