SEMBACH Kaserne, Germany -- Several members of Dental Health Activity Rhineland-Pfalz participated in a Family Fitness Party at Rhine Ordnance Barracks on Friday Jan. 24. The purpose of the event was to promote the overall health and dental readiness of Soldiers and their Family members in the Kaiserslautern Military Community.

The dental volunteers answered questions about oral health, provided oral hygiene instruction and distributed toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, mouth rinse and timers to Soldiers and Family members who attended the event.

"Healthy teeth and gums have such an important role in our lives," said Lt. Col. (Dr.) Aileen Cabanada-Logan, Chief of Endodontics at Pulaski Dental Clinic. "It helps us eat foods that keep us healthy, helps us to communicate, can affect self-confidence and influence our careers and relationships."

"Having good oral hygiene helps us achieve and maintain a healthy smile and prevent dental diseases like cavities, gingivitis, and periodontitis (gum disease)," added Cabanada-Logan. "Poor oral hygiene can lead to pain, infection, multiple visits to the dentist, tooth loss, and a reduced quality of life. Poor oral hygiene has also been associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis."

Just like physical fitness and weapons qualification and proficiency, dental readiness plays a key role in the Army's overall go-to-war mission.

"A Soldier with dental problems runs the risk of being out of the fight and can impact a unit's ability to complete the mission," said Cabanada-Logan. "A Soldier with pain and or infection will be distracted, unable to concentrate, unable to sleep and rely on medications that can have serious side effects that impact overall job performance. Depending on a Soldier's scope of responsibility, the side effects can be multifold and have a significant impact."

Dental Health Command Europe's mission is to ensure dental readiness, promote dental health, and provide dental care for America's Army in Europe.