Children’s Dental Care During COVID-19
It is always recommended to take care of you and your family’s teeth with regular dental health check-ups. But what happens if you can’t get to the dentist? With dental offices closed down during the COVID-19 quarantine, you may be missing much needed dental cleaning, maintenance appointments, AND dental care during COVID-19. Follow these quarantine dental tips to keep your children’s teeth healthy while you wait to get back to the dentist.
You might not be thinking about your dental health with everything else related to the virus spread right happening right now. But if you were to develop a painful cavity that could change very quickly. Taking care of your teeth is always important, but right now, paying extra attention to care is crucial.
Dentists have always recommended flossing once a day for dental health, but many don’t follow this advice. No matter how good a job you or your child do at brushing, it can’t replace flossing. Floss is able to slip between teeth and into the edges of the gums to remove plaque and bacteria that a toothbrush can’t reach. By flossing every day, you can keep your teeth and gums healthier until you can make it back to the dentist.
Even young children need to floss. As soon as your child has two teeth that touch together, you can begin to teach flossing dental care habits. While kids are still young, you should floss for them to get them used to the sensation. Make sure you floss down to the gums, but don’t apply so much pressure it hurts.
Brush Twice A Day
For most adults, brushing their teeth is a morning and night ritual, ensuring that it does happen twice a day. Children may not yet be used to the routine or resist brushing their teeth on their own. This can make it challenging to keep your child’s teeth healthy. Brushing twice a day destroys bacteria before it can damage the enamel on your teeth. Over time, if bacteria are left, tooth enamel will slowly weaken until the bond with the gums is destroyed. Decay at the tooth and root level will then occur. Getting a cavity when dental offices are closed during COVID-19 is a bad situation to be in, especially if it is painful.
If your child does not like brushing their teeth, try to find ways to make it fun. When brushing teeth becomes fun or turned into a game, it can help children want to do it more often. Turn on their favorite song and dance while you brush. You could offer incentives as well, like giving an extended bedtime, choosing an extra book to read, or getting a special snack at lunchtime.
Don’t Forget About Tongues
It might feel weird for your child to brush their tongue, but this extra step will help keep their mouth even cleaner. Most of the bacteria living in the mouth are actually on the rough surface of the tongue. If your child only brushes their teeth, the bacteria will be transferred from the tongue back onto their teeth in only a matter of hours. By brushing and keeping the tongue clean too, your child’s dental care during COVID-19 hygiene will go farther through the quarantine.
Bacteria also causes bad breath. All that living bacteria has a smell, and it’s not a good one. With enough bacterial build-up, your child could experience halitosis. Halitosis is more than just the bad breath you can brush away. If left unchecked, it can become chronic and something that brushing, mints, and mouthwash can’t get rid of fully.
Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks
The bacteria in the mouth feed off of sugar. The byproduct of this is an acid that damages teeth and causes decay. Sugary drinks like soda, juice, and sports drinks not only feed bacteria but can contain acids of their own. This acid dissolves the enamel on teeth and, over time, can expose the inner layers of teeth, which is painful. Make careful food and drink choices to enhance dental care during COVID-19.
For your child’s health, avoiding sugary drinks completely is the best choice, not only for teeth. Water is a healthy option, and most of us are probably not drinking enough as it is. If your child is having a sugary drink, have them use a straw to help the liquid go past the teeth. Rinsing with a drink of water or brushing immediately afterward can help keep acid from damaging tooth enamel.
Try An Electric Toothbrush
Electric toothbrushes generally remove more plaque than a regular toothbrush. An electric toothbrush can also effectively brush hard to reach back teeth that kids might not spend time brushing. More plaque and bacteria removed from teeth means you can make it longer without a professional dental cleaning.
Electric toothbrushes also run for a set time, so this is another way to ensure your child is brushing long enough to make a difference. Some of these electric toothbrushes even come with themed character handles and music, so they may be even more enticing for your child to use. If you have been struggling to keep your child on a dental hygiene routine, an electric toothbrush could add some excitement and make it fun.
End Meals with Crisp Foods
Fruits and vegetables like raw carrots, celery, and apples can actually clean your child’s teeth while they eat. These foods can help remove plaque from the surface of teeth while eating. Adding natural fruits and vegetables to meals is a better alternative than sugary or processed snacks, so this tip is a win-win. If you know your child won’t be able to brush their teeth after eating, ending a meal with these food choices can help keep their teeth in better shape until they can get to a toothbrush.
Keeping your child’s mouth and teeth healthy is possible during extended periods without having a professional cleaning. Just a few small changes like the ones listed above can make a big difference in oral health. When it is safe to open our dental office doors again, we look forward to treating you and your family. Stay safe and practice excellent dental care during COVID-19!