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News | Feb. 7, 2024

Walter Reed Pediatric Dentistry Team Provides Dental Screenings at Child Development Centers in National Capital Region

By Vernishia R. Vaughn

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center's pediatric dentistry team is taking proactive efforts to improve dental health among children within the military health system throughout the National Capital Region (NCR). Riding on the annual observance of Children's Dental Health Month, the team will provide dental screenings to children ages 3 to 5, at five Child Development Centers (CDCs) across the NCR.

These efforts seek to promote awareness of dental practices and oral health among children, driving home the message of the significant role dental hygiene plays in overall health.

Emphasizing the purpose of these visits, Dr. Clayton Cheung, a pediatric dentist at Walter Reed, said, "The goal is to message the importance of dental health, oral hygiene, and to serve as a resource to establishing a dental home for their children.”

That dental home may be at a military treatment facility (MTF), or a dental clinic out in town.

The team of volunteers undertaking the project is comprised of clinical and non-clinical personnel from Walter Reed Hospital Dentistry, local MTF clinics, and the Naval Postgraduate Dental School (NPDS).

“This initiative also includes military pediatric dentists holding non-clinical positions who have expressed a keen interest in promoting children's dental health,” shared Cheung.

As part of their mandate, Cheung and his team liaises with CDCs and neighboring MTF clinics to provide the requisite support for their dental health screening projects. The main focus Cheung drives home is that these dental screenings, “is to ensure parents establish a dental home for their children, wherever that may be, early in life.”

Once again, underscoring the importance of oral hygiene and good dental health.

Dr. Cheung shared what he considered to be  his “future goals” of these pediatric dental screenings.

"It would be a neat project in the future to set up a sealant clinic as a follow up to the Children’s Dental Health Month dental screenings,” said Cheung. “We want to raise awareness to a much larger audience, on the importance of children’s health year-round.”

In addition to his statement, Cheung added that he and his team has a goal of “one day reaching out to all of the CDCs within the region, with the support of the local dental clinics.”
The Walter Reed Hospital Dentistry pediatric team’s commitment towards expanding partnerships with MTFs and CDCs complements their vision of instilling a culture of dental hygiene and improved oral health among the young generation within the NCR.

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