The coronavirus might be dominating the headlines right now, but that doesn’t mean that kids should stop caring for their teeth. With social distancing in place, it is far more crucial than ever to do what you can at home to reduce the need to leave the house. Going to your kids dentist should be something you do in an emergency only.
Protecting your kids’ mouths during coronavirus is all about keeping up healthy habits. But what does this look like in practice during COVID-19? Let’s take a look.
Brushing For Two Minutes, Twice Per Day, And Flossing Regularly
Children will initially resist cleaning their teeth. The sensation of having a toothbrush and toothpaste in their mouth is unpleasant for some. But that doesn’t mean that parents should give up encouraging them to look after their oral health. The vast majority of children become accustomed to daily brushing and eventually do it out of habit. It is just a matter of being persistent.
Showing your child how to brush and setting a good example is one of the best things that you can do to encourage compliance. Make sure your children brush their teeth for at least two minutes and that they floss regularly. You can now buy electric toothbrushes with inbuilt timers that will automatically shut off after 120 seconds, taking the guesswork out of the process.
Flossing is essential too during the COVID-19 (and something that kids dentist practices recommend). It allows your children to clean areas that brushing alone won’t reach. Provide them with a flossing threader or even an electric water flosser, and work from side to side. You can also use interdental brushes, which some professionals believe could be even more effective.
Eating Healthy Foods
If there’s one thing that kids dentist professionals want to tell parents, it is to reduce the amount of sugar and refined starches in their children’s diet. Things like candy, white bread, and bakery items all foster the build-up of harmful bacteria that damage teeth. You want to avoid them where possible.
Importantly, dentists don’t believe that carbs, in general, are the problem. Fiber-containing carbohydrate foods, like wholemeal bread, vegetables, and beans, all seem to be safe for teeth. But when you strip out the roughage – which a lot of modern manufacturers do – you soon wind up creating problems. Sugar and white starchy foods tend to “stick” to the teeth, providing bacteria with more opportunity to divide and multiply.
Shifting your kids’ diet during the COVID-19 outbreak, therefore, is essential. The more that you can encourage the consumption of healthy high-fiber foods, the less likely they are to get an infection and require a trip to the kids dentist.
Be A Role Model
Children tend to model their behaviors on those of their parents. So if you eat a healthy diet and maintain an excellent oral health regimen, they are more likely to too. Where possible, look for opportunities to demonstrate how you look after your teeth. Brush your teeth in front of them in the bathroom, showing proper technique. And prepare low-sugar, low-starch meals for yourself and the rest of your family.
Use Salt Water Mouthwash
Saltwater mouthwash is becoming increasingly popular throughout the dental community. Researchers like it because it seems to both protect teeth and gums and maintain a healthy oral microbiome.
Getting your kids into the habit of using it is a great way to maintain good oral health during the coronavirus pandemic, reducing the need for emergency appointments. Salt destroys the lipid barrier around bacteria, preventing them from multiplying.
Reward Your Kids For Positive Oral Hygiene Behaviors
Getting kids to brush and floss their teeth correctly is an uphill challenge, but you can often make it easier with appropriate rewards. Find something that your child values and then use that as leverage to get them to take care of their teeth.
Kids Dentist Conclusion
COVID-19 is causing a crisis across our country. But that doesn’t mean that kid’s oral health ceases to be important. It is more critical than ever if we are to maintain effective social distancing. Excellent oral hygiene should be a top priority.
There are two takeaway messages from this post: work to reduce sugar and refined starch intake, and brush effectively with fluoride toothpaste. Those two habits will do more than anything else to slash the risk to your child’s teeth and keep them healthy. Plus, if you instruct them effectively, the good habits that they accumulate during the coronavirus pandemic will last for the rest of their lives.
If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to reach out to us. If you would like more information, we recommend taking a look at our EPIC Dentistry for Kids website.