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Deployed preventative health series: Dental clinic helps AUAB bite back

Dr. (Maj.) Benjamin Gantt, 379th Expeditionary Medical Operations Squadron dentist, adjusts a handheld mirror during a root canal procedure on Senior Airman Jordan Thompson, 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels and cryogenics operator, July 30, 2016, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The dental clinic treats all service members and coalition partners stationed here and at Camp As Sayliyah, to include permanent party members and their families assigned here through the Command Sponsorship Program. (U.S. Air Force photo/Technical Sgt. Carlos J. Treviño/Released)

Dr. (Maj.) Benjamin Gantt, 379th Expeditionary Medical Operations Squadron dentist, adjusts a handheld mirror during a root canal procedure on Senior Airman Jordan Thompson, 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels and cryogenics operator, July 30, 2016, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The dental clinic treats all service members and coalition partners stationed here and at Camp As Sayliyah, to include permanent party members and their families assigned here through the Command Sponsorship Program. (U.S. Air Force photo/Technical Sgt. Carlos J. Treviño/Released)

Sgt. Shane Hinton, 379th Expeditionary Medical Group dental technician, uses a dental probe to mix ingredieants for a a root canal on Senior Airman Jordan Thompson, 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, July 30, 2016, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Hinton was assisting Maj. (Dr.) Benjamin Gantt, a dentist  with the 379th Expeditionary Medical Group Dental Clinic, in treating Thompson. The clinic is an important component of the mission here, having to go to the dentist leads to other Airmen having to cover for someone seeking treatment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Technical Sgt. Carlos J. Treviño/Release)

Sgt. Shane Hinton, 379th Expeditionary Medical Group dental technician, uses a dental probe to mix ingredieants for a a root canal on Senior Airman Jordan Thompson, 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, July 30, 2016, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Hinton was assisting Maj. (Dr.) Benjamin Gantt, a dentist with the 379th Expeditionary Medical Group Dental Clinic, in treating Thompson. The clinic is an important component of the mission here, having to go to the dentist leads to other Airmen having to cover for someone seeking treatment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Technical Sgt. Carlos J. Treviño/Release)

Staff Sgt. Shane Hinton, 379th Expeditionary Medical Operations Squadron dental technician, uses a curing light to solidify liquid dental materials inside a root canal on Senior Airman Jordan Thompson, 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels and cryogenics operator, July 30, 2016, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Dental technicians like Hinton perform dental cleanings, prepare dental instruments, and assist dentists with procedures like extractions and root canals. (U.S. Air Force photo/Technical Sgt. Carlos J. Treviño/Released)

Staff Sgt. Shane Hinton, 379th Expeditionary Medical Operations Squadron dental technician, uses a curing light to solidify liquid dental materials inside a root canal on Senior Airman Jordan Thompson, 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels and cryogenics operator, July 30, 2016, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Dental technicians like Hinton perform dental cleanings, prepare dental instruments, and assist dentists with procedures like extractions and root canals. (U.S. Air Force photo/Technical Sgt. Carlos J. Treviño/Released)

Sgt. Shane Hinton (left), 379th Expeditionary Medical Group dental technician, lines up his x-ray to make an image of a tooth belonging to Senior Airman Jordan Thompson, 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, July 30, 2016, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Hinton was taking the x-ray for Maj. (Dr.) Benjamin Gantt to check on the status of a root canal they were finishing on Thompson. (U.S. Air Force photo/Technical Sgt. Carlos J. Treviño/Release)

Sgt. Shane Hinton (left), 379th Expeditionary Medical Group dental technician, lines up his x-ray to make an image of a tooth belonging to Senior Airman Jordan Thompson, 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, July 30, 2016, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Hinton was taking the x-ray for Maj. (Dr.) Benjamin Gantt to check on the status of a root canal they were finishing on Thompson. (U.S. Air Force photo/Technical Sgt. Carlos J. Treviño/Release)

Dental tools readied by Staff Sgt. Shane Hinton, 379th Expeditionary Medical Operations Squadron dental technician, on standby to be used in a procedure on Senior Airman Jordan Thompson, 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels and cryogenics operator, July 30, 2016, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Deployed dental technicians like Hinton deliver essential dental care to keep all deployed service members and coalition partners mission-ready. (U.S. Air Force photo/Technical Sgt. Carlos J. Treviño/Released)

Dental tools readied by Staff Sgt. Shane Hinton, 379th Expeditionary Medical Operations Squadron dental technician, on standby to be used in a procedure on Senior Airman Jordan Thompson, 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels and cryogenics operator, July 30, 2016, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Deployed dental technicians like Hinton deliver essential dental care to keep all deployed service members and coalition partners mission-ready. (U.S. Air Force photo/Technical Sgt. Carlos J. Treviño/Released)

Sgt. Shane Hinton, 379th Expeditionary Medical Group dental technician,  mixes sealant for Maj. (Dr.) Benjamin Gantt to place inside a root canal on Senior Airman Jordan Thompson, 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, July 30, 2016, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The abundance of sugary energy drinks consumed here is a cause of tooth decay and dental visits according to Maj. Gantt. (U.S. Air Force photo/Technical Sgt. Carlos J. Treviño/Release)

Sgt. Shane Hinton, 379th Expeditionary Medical Group dental technician, mixes sealant for Maj. (Dr.) Benjamin Gantt to place inside a root canal on Senior Airman Jordan Thompson, 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, July 30, 2016, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The abundance of sugary energy drinks consumed here is a cause of tooth decay and dental visits according to Maj. Gantt. (U.S. Air Force photo/Technical Sgt. Carlos J. Treviño/Release)

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --

Every deployed service member and coalition partner here serves a role in supporting critical regional airpower goals. However, when they suffer from a dental problem, their ability to work can be adversely compromised and may even limit their ability to support the combat mission.

The 379th Expeditionary Medical Operations Squadron’s dental clinic, which is staffed by only three Airmen, treats nearly 350 members from both Team AUAB and Camp As Sayliyah every month to ensure deployed personnel remain mission-ready.

Deployed Preventative Health Tip: One of the largest drivers of dental health issues in many deployed locations is the over-consumption of sugary energy drinks. The dental health experts here advise avoiding these drinks and reducing the amount of sugar based snacks that are in abundance at dining facilities, as they may cause cavities.

With the month of August designated as Preventive Health Month by the Air Force Medical Service, the deployed preventative health series examines the health and vitality of the nation’s warfighters. Click here to read more about preventative health topics in this series.