Children across San Antonio are starting their school year at home while engaging in virtual learning because of COVID-19. That reality means that many children are seldom leaving their neighborhoods let alone their homes. Infection control safeguards are more stringent at Scuba Smiles for Kids, and we feel our office is a safe place to be. However, if you are not comfortable bringing your child into the practice for their biannual check-up, we strongly encourage you to take heed of these tips to ensure that you are helping your children to maintain strong oral hygiene.
#1 MAKE HEALTHY EATING PART OF THEIR DAILY ROUTINE
“Dental health and overall medical health impact each other directly,” says Dr. Lela Farmer of Scuba Smiles for Kids. “We recommend that your child avoid overindulging in sugar-based drinks and junk food.” The longer your child’s teeth are exposed to sugar and other sticky foods, the greater their risk for cavities.
#2 MAKE THE TEETH CLEANING ROUTINE FUN
Kids love a party, so make flossing and brushing something for them to look forward to. Music and dancing can make it feel like a party. “Consider a sticker chart that rewards consistent brushing while working toward a prize. You can even make it a game where they are using the brushing to fight off monsters,” said Dr. Farmer.
#3 MAKE SURE KIDS ARE BRUSHING THE RIGHT WAY
Many of us have gotten sidetracked from routines during the pandemic, but brushing should not be something you let your children forget. Children should be brushing their teeth twice a day, but that’s not all. They need to brush their teeth for at least two minutes total; 30 seconds for each quadrant while using a fluoride toothpaste.
#4 SHOW THEM HOW TO FLOSS
“Flossing your teeth is essential to good dental health, especially during COVID-19, because flossing reaches spaces between the teeth that can’t be reached with a toothbrush,” says Dr. Farmer. When it comes to flossing, dentists will tell you that children have two options for best practices. The first is using a threading method between the teeth with the floss wrapped around their fingers or using a flosser stick. The second option is using an electric water-flosser which shoots water or cleaning fluid at a high rate of speed to get rid of particles stuck between the teeth.
If your children have not returned to our office since the pandemic began, let them know there are changes that we have instituted for the sake of safety. For example, at Scuba Smiles for Kids, you will be waiting in your car for your appointment instead of our waiting room. Our video games have been turned off in our waiting rooms. Only one parent is permitted to accompany the children during their appointment, and we will be wearing additional PPE.