The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many delays in dental care for families across Tennessee. Children whose dental problems may have quickly and easily been taken care of in a dental office likely have not seen a dentist in a while. Unfortunately, tooth and mouth problems do not go away on their own, they just get wore and need more treatment.
This is a great time to practice good home dental habits to protect your child’s and family’s teeth. The American Academy of Pediatrics states why it’s important to practice good oral hygiene during the pandemic:
Tooth decay in the form of cavities is the most common disease of childhood. It is mostly preventable. But once tooth decay begins, it will get worse, even in babies. Dentists were not able to see patients at the beginning of the pandemic except for emergencies. As they begin re-opening with new schedules, it may be more difficult to get an appointment. If you need help finding a dentist, talk to your pediatrician.
Help prevent dental problems and tooth decay during the pandemic.
- Brush teeth regularly. Help your children brush their teeth two times a day for two minutes each time. Use toothpaste with fluoride.
- Offer fluoridated water. Offer your child plain milk with meals and fluoridated water in between. Avoid juice, especially in sippy cups.
- Avoid sugary foods and junk food. Diet affects dental health. The longer and more frequently your child's teeth are exposed to sugar and other foods that stick in the teeth (like chips, cookies, and crackers), the greater the risk of cavities.
- Dental checkups. Situations vary from state to state as dental offices begin to reopen. However, they are following CDC and OSHA recommendations to make sure patients and dental team members stay safe. Call your dentist to learn about their new procedures for seeing patients before scheduling a visit.
Getting the Healthcare Your Family Needs:
Due to COVID-19, people have practiced physical distancing to help prevent the spread of the virus. However, when those fears drive families who need healthcare away from hospitals and clinics, it can become dangerous.
Health experts continue to voice that doctors’ offices and emergency rooms are safe. If you or a member of your family need to go, you should. Well child visits are also extremely important and should continue as your young child grows and develops. Here are just a few reasons why children need to see their primary care provider regularly:
· For newborn visits after a baby is born and well child visits throughout childhood.
· To stay up-to-date on immunizations.
· For hearing and vision screenings.
· To monitor growth, blood pressure, and other vital signs.
· To check labs such as for anemia.
· To check on developmental milestones.
· To treat infections or injuries.
· For routine lead testing.
Across Tennessee, hospitals and clinics have updated their safety procedures to keep you and your family safe. Contact your healthcare provider to learn about the safety measures that are in place. Most are implementing or requiring the following;
· Patients and guests must wear a mask
· Patients are screened with temperature checks
· Appointments may be spaced out
· Extra cleaning and disinfection protocols
· Social distancing reminders and signage
· Patients may be tested prior to surgeries, procedures and hospital admissions
· Telehealth services may be available
The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) reports a recent drop in immunization rates due to COVID-19. Now is the time for kids to get caught up on their immunizations. To learn more about the immunizations your child needs, visit https://www.kidcentraltn.com/health/checkups/what-immunizations-will-my-child-need.html.
You and your family’s health are essential. If you have any concerns, or a family member has a chronic medical condition, it’s important to call your healthcare provider right away and get the care you need. Healthcare providers are ready and here for you and your family.