Self-isolating during the COVID-19 crisis has been challenging for families in many ways. And, at a time like this, the last thing you want is for your child to experience a dental emergency. Although pediatric dentists are still open for emergency care, it’s a lot easier on kids to avoid dental problems rather than have them treated! In this blog, you’ll get 5 easy tips for how to prevent a pediatric dental emergency and keep your child’s smile healthy in self-isolation.
1. Help Your Kids Snack Smarter
With spending so much time at home, it’s easier than ever for kids to snack all day. And when those snacks are high in sugar, their risk of getting cavities increases a lot.
To prevent tooth decay, try to keep the amount of sweet foods and beverages in the house to a minimum (including soda, juice, dried fruit, granola bars, and candy). Instead, keep low or no-sugar options on hand like chicken nuggets, carrots and celery with spinach dip or guacamole, plain (no-sugar) yogurt, nuts, salted cucumbers, lunch meat, cheese, and hard-boiled eggs.
Also, keep in mind that the frequency of sugar consumption is just as important. Every time a child has a sip or bite of anything sweet, acid is produced in their mouth that attacks their enamel and leads to cavities. For this reason, make sugary items an occasional treat or only offer them with a meal rather than as a snack.
2. Make Sure Your Child Uses a Custom-Made Mouthguard For Athletic Activities
Kids aren’t playing group sports right now, but you should still have them wear a custom-made mouthguard for any solo activities like mountain biking, skateboarding, etc. These appliances prevent dental emergencies like knocked-out teeth and also protect the tongue, lips, and cheeks. Custom-made mouthguards are even shown to lessen the severity of concussions.
3. Prevent Cavities With Extra Topical Fluoride
The majority of children’s toothpastes have fluoride in them which hardens the enamel and prevents cavities. However, kids older than age 6 can benefit from an additional “layer” of protection by using a fluoride (anti-cavity) mouthwash from the grocery store.
4. Encourage Good Oral Hygiene By Making It More Fun
Without the normal routine of the school day, your kids may be struggling to keep up with brushing and flossing. To make it a little more fun and engaging, use one of the many apps available on your phone or tablet. Some reward points for consistent habits or simply play a 2-minute song to encourage brushing long enough. These tools are simple but can make a big difference in your child’s motivation.
5. Discourage Bad Habits
Bad habits can increase the risk for chipped, broken or cracked teeth. To prevent this, remind your kids not to chew on their fingernails, ice, hard candy, etc. Also, don’t let them open packages with their teeth.
No parent wants to see their child experience a dental emergency, especially during quarantine. With these 5 tips, you’ll help them get through this time with a healthy smile intact.
About the Author
As an award-winning pediatric dentist, Dr. Layne Benzley is dedicated to helping his patients maintain their oral health through the COVID-19 crisis. His office is still open for emergencies, and he’s always happy to provide information and advice over the phone. If you’d like to know more about preventing pediatric dental emergencies or have any questions, he can be reached via his website.