Coronavirus – Don’t Neglect Your Children’s Teeth

Advice to parents from the Cygnet Dental Practice in Wickford

Child with parentsAlthough children seem to be one of the groups least affected by the Covid-19 virus, they are not entirely safe from it and, like the rest of us, should be socially distancing. There are other aspects of the current situation which will be affecting them too, including their schooling. Some may also have anxieties around the current situation and, as parents, we are all doing our best to maintain a level of normality as best as we can.

Things change at times like this and our routines can go out of the window. As we know, most children do need some sort of routine, and one in particular which concerns us is the routine surrounding their oral care.

Have a strict brushing routine

Establishing a regular brushing routine for children can be quite difficult initially. Once this has been done though and they are abiding by it, it can be very tricky when you have to change it. Most children probably brush their teeth around their school or playgroup routine, and as that has been taken away for the time being, it is important that a new regular time slot is found.

Every child and family is different of course, and you will be in a better position than us to find one that works for your own children. Here are a few suggestions from your Wickford dental team which might help you to establish a new regular routine.

  • As soon as they get up (though this might be one of the more difficult ones to implement!)
  • Right before they start to do any school work that has been set for them or that you are teaching
  • After breakfast, but do allow at least half an hour before brushing as the enamel will be softer at this time and can be worn away more easily
  • After they have got dressed in the morning (presuming of course, that they aren’t spending the day in their PJs!)

Whatever the new routine, find one that works best for you and them and try to make sure to stick to it.

Don’t overdo the sweets

None of us want our children to suffer at this time of course. It can be hard enough for them not seeing their school friends and not being allowed outside to play etc. There can be a tendency to give them more leeway at this time which is entirely understandable, but it is important that we don’t apply this to their sweet consumption.

By all means, allow your childrena few treats. No one is saying that these are normal times and we want to make it as easy for the children as we possibly can. Letting them have free access to their ‘sweet drawer’ though is asking for trouble and is likely to lead to tooth decay. As we are currently unable to provide routine dental treatment, this could mean them having to suffer with a toothache until we are able to treat them again or before they can be referred to an emergency dental centre.

Perhaps use sweets as a reward for doing school work for example, but make sure not to overdo it and manage their overall consumption.

Avoid fizzy drinks

The widespread consumption of fizzy (and sugary) drinks is thought to be one of the main reasons for a general rise in the number of cases of tooth decay in children. Our advice is to minimise these and maybe not even buy more when your current stocks have run out. Many of these drinks are also highly acidic which speeds up the enamel erosion process. From a dental health perspective, water is the best drink of all, but if your child refuses to drink just water, you could use a no sugar fruit squash instead. This will help to protect their teeth and keep them stronger and healthier than fizzy drinks will.

Build in oral care education

We sometimes feel that good oral care is promoted less than it could be. The long term effects of tooth neglect can be devastating, with major tooth loss not only causing problems when eating, but potentially also having a negative effect on our overall well being. Gum diseases are also increasingly believed to contribute to serious illnesses such as heart disease. We need to look after our teeth and gums throughout our life and starting oral care education at a young age can be really helpful in this. Why not build a few lessons into their home education programme? They do not have to be detailed and can even be fun with the use of online videos perhaps; there are certainly plenty available. Raising the awareness of how important it is to look after your teeth at this young age will help to stand your children in good stead in the years to come.

Unfortunately we currently have no further information on when the Cygnet Dental Practice will be able to open again to treat you or your children. Rest assured, we will do so when we have been officially advised that we can. Please keep an eye on our website for updates and, if you have urgent concerns about your, or your children’s teeth, please call our Wickford dental practice on 01268 733078 where you will be offered further advice. Please continue to stay safe!