Keeping Kids Safe: Don’t delay dental care


The COVID-19 pandemic forced all of us to put important things on hold. For many families, it meant delays in dental care.

Many children whose dental problems could have been easily taken care of with a trip to the dentist had to wait, and since teeth don’t get better on their own, those problems just got worse.

Local dentists are stressing the importance of six-month checkups, especially as we slowly get back to our normal routines.

“There’s nothing more important than that, you know. A stitch in time, saves nine, and if you put it off, small problems can become very big problems. Something that’s not painful can turn into something painful. So very, very important to get the six-month checkups,” said Kristine Staser, dental hygienist at Southern Park Dental Works in Boardman.

To help prevent dental problems in kids:

  • Brush teeth regularly. Help your children brush their teeth two times a day for two minutes each time and 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 officers begin to reopen. However, they are following CDC and OSHA recommendations to make sure patients and dental team members stay safe. Call you dentist to learn about their new procedures for seeing patients before scheduling a visit.
  • See your pediatrician. When you visit your pediatrician for a checkup or even a sick visit, ask about how best to take care of your children’s teeth. At in-person visits, your pediatrician may apply fluoride varnish to protect your child’s teeth. If you are not able to visit the office, your pediatrician may be able to offer a telehealth visit to “look” at your child’s mouth and teeth using photos or video. Depending on what is seen, you may need to take your child to a dentist.

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