Indisputably, dental health significantly influences your overall health. So, going without dental care can lead to a wide range of infections and diseases related to chronic illnesses. As a result, it is vital to maintain good oral health. Currently, health experts highly recommend taking your kids for professional dental checkups at least twice a year. But last year, the majority of parents were unable to take their children for a dental visit. The reason for this is pretty much apparent. The global pandemic led to the closure of schools; hence back to school dental visits were no longer a thing. Besides, parents are afraid to acquire the virus from their dentists.
Based on previous statistics, almost half of parents do not take care of their kids’ oral health. “And this is not good, “says Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, the spokesperson of ADA. He proceeds to say, “Common teeth problems often start in the early years of one’s life. Parents should therefore make the effort of taking their children for dental visits. Besides, the measures observed by dental workers are proving to be effective. ”
Nonetheless, parents who went to dental clinics complained of long waiting times and failure to see the dentist. Even though they secured an appointment, most of them had trouble before having a face-to-face meeting with the dentist. So, what was the cause of all these delays?
Scarcity of dental care
“Following the COVID-19 pandemic was the random closure of dental clinics,” Shenkin says. Unquestionably, this was devastating for most individuals, especially for those with oral health problems. Consequently, small dental issues escalated and became worse by the time clinics were getting reopened.
Moreover, the increased demand for services led to a shortage of dental equipment. And this is a problem that dental care experts are currently facing. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry reported that there were inadequate N95 respirators to cater to all patients. “Also, dentists cannot accommodate a lot of patients in their clinics due to the COVID-19 restrictions, “says Shenkin.
Overcoming hurdles to get kids care they need
Some of the children in the United States used to get dental care from school. Thus, it was difficult for their parents to access other dental care services options during the pandemic, especially children who have the Children’s Health Insurance Program or Medicaid insurance. Very few dentists accepted such insurance covers hence causing many children to go without dental treatment.
Nevertheless, your child can receive dental care services in the middle of this pandemic. All you have to do is search for reliable dentists near your area who allow CHIP or Medicaid insurance. Use the dentist locator tool to find the most suitable dentists you can work with within your area.
Furthermore, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry offers free dental care services via the Give Kids a Smile program. Here, your child can get a professional dental checkup as well as the necessary treatment. So, there is no excuse as to why you should not take your child to see the dentist.
Aside from the ADA program, several health clinics offer cheap or free dental care services. Once you find the most suitable pediatric dentist, keep in mind that the experience might be different than before. Now, everyone in the healthcare sector is doing their best to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. So, pediatric dentists are using a powerful disinfectant spray and different treatments.
Maintaining good oral practices at home
One of the best ways of taking care of your children’s teeth is to go for frequent dental checkups. Through these visits, you get to learn how to maintain the best oral practices for your kids. Also, your children can learn how to clean and maintain their teeth. And we all know that the secret to strong, healthy teeth is maintaining good dental practices at home.
Shenkin says, “It always starts with limiting your child’s sugar intake. Sugar is the number one cause of dental cavities. So, avoid giving your kids candy and soft drinks. Instead, it would help if you gave them water or milk.” Of course, this may not be possible since kids love sugary stuff. So, if your child consumes sugary beverages or candy, ensure they brush their teeth immediately afterward.
Additionally, ensure that your child brushes their teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and a small toothbrush. Shenkin states, “Cleaning your teeth only once a day puts you at a higher risk of getting dental decay.”
When all the teeth become visible, your child should start flossing. However, please do not leave them to do this on their own until they are about ten years.
Even so, it can be challenging to implement all these dental care practices amid this pandemic. I mean, as a parent, you are trying to balance work, family, or school. So, it is sometimes inevitable to forget. But make it a priority to take care of your child’s dental health. In turn, you boost the overall health of your child and protect them against tooth decay.