These weeks during the coronavirus epidemic of 2020 can be stressful for families. Numerous individuals have had many parts of their daily lives upended. With many people working from home, school canceled for a vast majority of children and new recommendations for staying healthy, you may not know which way to turn. Even if you are staying at home to follow current governmental advice, you will want to keep your children’s teeth healthy during this time. You can find some guidelines and general oral health tips for your children right here.

Official Recommendations for Dentistry During COVID-19

A pediatric dentist is usually seen as an essential service provider. However, some changes have been made by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the American Dental Association during this time. The ability of the coronavirus to pass easily from person to person in close proximities is one key reason for changes. Another important factor is the need to reduce surgical mask usage wherever possible.

The American Dental Association (ADA) currently recommends that dentists keep their offices closed through April 30. However, the ADA exempts emergency and urgent services from this guidance. The ADA also maintains that your dentist should first follow any state guidance that could supersede their recommendations.

However, it can certainly be challenging to know whether or not your child’s oral care need is urgent. The ADA states that regular, routine care for cleanings, x-rays and orthodontic adjustments should not be considered urgent. In addition, even cavities that are not currently causing pain can usually wait for a few weeks.

Urgent oral health needs typically include the following:

-Bleeding from the mouth
-Toothaches
-Pain and swelling around gums
-Pain from an orthodontic wire poking the soft tissues
-A knocked-out tooth
-A cracked tooth

COVID-19 Precautions Kids Dental Specialty Is Taking

Of course, even when urgent or emergent pain-free dentistry is required during this time, your dentist will take special precautions to keep your child safe from the coronavirus. Kids Dental Specialty is reaching out to clients to reschedule previously made appointments for after April 30. You may also want to contact your cosmetic dentist for kids yourself if your child has an upcoming appointment.

However, if your child is in pain or if you believe he is experiencing a dental emergency, you should contact the office immediately. You can call Dr. Tran or can text a picture of the problem to her if appropriate. Should your child need emergency care, he should be free of fever, cough and shortness of breath before heading to the clinic. Your dentist will need to fill out a COVID-19 screening form.

Whenever you come to the dental office, you should maintain the social distancing rule of 6 feet between individuals. In addition, you and your child should frequently wash your hands or use hand sanitizer and should keep your hands off your faces.

Basic Precautions for Keeping Children Safe from COVID-19

Although coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, tends to target adults, children can catch the virus or be asymptomatic carriers. You should make sure that your child is cleaning his hands frequently and is avoiding playdates and other social meetings. Be sure to launder clothing, towels and linens frequently, and disinfect counters, doorknobs and light switches daily. You may also need to wash your child’s toys regularly and launder stuffed animals in hot water.

Knowing the symptoms to watch out for with COVID-19 can help you catch the disease in its earliest stages in your child. The most common symptoms include a fever, shortness of breath and a dry cough. Keep your child to one room if possible if he displays these symptoms.

Talking to Your Children About Changes

It can be difficult for children to undergo changes to their routines. This could be a particularly stressful time for many children who could feel anxiety at home. Watch for signs of excessive worry or stress, which could come out as screaming, tantrums or sullenness. Your child may even seem particularly sad or may cry for no reason. Give your child the support he needs by being available to talk about worries and difficult emotions. If your child is very young, try not to talk about difficult subjects in front of him. You may also want to limit the amount of time that you watch or listen to the news in front of him.

We found a great blog on talking to kids about the coronavirus here.

Addressing Your Children’s Oral Health at Home

Despite the many changes in the world, your child’s oral health does not have to suffer at this time. You can still take smart steps to keep his teeth clean and gums healthy with simple tools at home. If your child is old enough, he can be in charge of these tasks instead.

The most important way to keep your child’s teeth cavity-free is to brush at least twice daily. You should use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride in the toothpaste is important for slowing down tooth decay and improving remineralization of enamel. Your child may also be more motivated to brush if he has a kid-friendly toothpaste with a fun flavor.

Your child should floss his teeth daily but will probably need help doing so for some time. Flossing improves gum health. If your child is interested, he could also use a child-friendly mouthwash.

Getting Further Help from the Best Children’s Dentist in the Area

These are certainly challenging times, but you can rest assured that your child’s oral health will not suffer if you follow these recommendations. A toothbrush and a simple tube of toothpaste along with regular flossing can keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy even if his appointment has been canceled.

By following good oral hygiene with a toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss, your family can make it through this difficult month without cavities. Be sure to contact your pediatric dentist if you have any questions about dental appointments or any oral health concerns.