Oral Fitness

 Leaders and OralFitness

Last Updated: June 22, 2020
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​Information for leaders about oral fitness to assist them in keeping Soldiers in Dental Class 1.

What is the Problem? Too many Army Soldiers have oral health problems. Only a percentage of Army Soldiers are classified within Dental Class 1 with no dental treatment needs. The rest require some type of dental treatment. View all dental classifications in the Dental Readiness Classification System on the Soldier Oral Fitness page or on My Dental on AKO External Link.

Why should I care? Soldiers can optimize performance when they are healthy. Dental treatment time can lead to lost work time. The worse a Soldier's oral disease gets, the more time off work they have to take to get treated. 

Dental emergency rates increase significantly with the severity of the dental readiness classification. The likelihood of a Soldier being suddenly lost to duty due to a dental emergency increases as oral health worsens. Dental emergencies account for many diseases and non-battle injuries during deployment. The number of dental emergencies is greater for units whose Soldiers deploy with poor oral health. 

Can Leaders make a Difference?  Yes, there are resources available to commanders and NCOs interested in improving their unit's Dental Readiness. Find out if your Soldiers are at high risk for tooth decay with this Decay Risk Self-Check External Link.   

Oral diseases can cause:

  • Impaired duty performance
  • Work loss
  • Restricted activity
  • Difficulty eating
  • Trouble pronouncing words
  • Inability to sleep
  • Excruciating pain

Worst of all, Soldiers who don't take care of their mouths could be putting themselves and their fellow Soldiers in the line of fire. During deployment, Soldiers with dental problems usually require medical evacuation for treatment. Medical evacuation in theater can be delayed for long periods of time due to sand storms or transportation problems. Every time a Soldier has to be transported out of the area of operations for dental treatment, they expose themselves and their fellow Soldiers to attacks from insurgents.

 AKO My Dental Health and Readiness External Link (password protected)