It’s been an interesting reality we have found ourselves in these recent weeks, with Australia facing new lockdown laws and an ever-evolving COVID-19 crisis occurring almost daily. We’ve heard the word pandemic tossed around in so many ways, with warnings from the media for weeks on end, the unescapable public hysteria, to eventually the World Health Organisation announcing the global pandemic back in early March. Eventually, it just somehow sort of becomes clear that we are in a pandemic, and just how serious it really is for everyone.
Health and well-being in many ways has been a focal point when people are in self-isolation and social distancing. Self-care no doubt is very important in these uncertain times, but what we do find is that oral health tends to fall to the way side when there is a health crisis.
At Lucas, Dental Care we are gently reminding our patients and their families to care for their teeth during these times. We understand family routine has literally been thrown out the window. Schools are closed, parents are now working from home, and it’s a difficult situation for everyone. Young children and toddlers are particularly susceptible to developing dental decay. Dental decay in baby teeth can develop and spread rapidly in a matter of weeks, and can consequently affect speech and growth. Poor dental health has been linked to poor general health, so it is very important to ensure we care for our teeth and our children’s teeth.
During a pandemic as times become uncertain, it may become increasingly difficult to find emergency dental care for your child if an unexpected toothache occurs.
We simply ask is that you remember to:
- Keep to a regular routine at home. Three meals a day and restrict snacking / grazing on foods. Lock the pantry if you have to! Everything we eat has some amount of sugar. Chocolates and lollies are obviously known to be very bad for teeth, but it can be food items like dried fruit, grapes and peanut butter lathered crackers that can catch a well-intentioned parent out. The frequency of foods kids consume can make the mouth a perfect environment for dental decay to grow and spread so it is important we limit grazing in young children (when children eats slowly over a long period of time). Even in self-isolation (sometimes easier for us to preach than practice), do try your very best to keep your child in a routine.
- Brush twice a day and floss! Children really do need to be brushing at least twice a day. Once in the morning and once at night. Children’s teeth should be brushed up to the age of seven by an adult as this is when they have enough dexterity to clean properly. We should also be flossing if the teeth touch together. Brushing will not get in between teeth, and this is where we tend to find dental decay sneaking up on us. Please ensure flossing is in the routine.
- Choose an appropriate fluoride containing toothpaste! Babies and children up until the age of 6 years should be using a low-fluoride containing toothpaste. This is often marketed as children’s toothpaste. Oral B and Colgate have a variety of low-fluoride toothpaste for young children with different flavours to chose from. Babies only need a very small smear of toothpaste – no more than the size of a grain of rice. Do not purchase any natural toothpastes that are fluoride free, as this is where parents tend to run into trouble. Popular toothpastes purchased by unsuspecting parents include Red Seal toothpaste and Jack N Jill. Fluoride must be inside the toothpaste as this ensures your child’s teeth is adequately protected.
When children start to get their adult teeth, they should then be using an aged 7+ toothpaste as this has adequate fluoride to protect the adult teeth.
If you do find yourself in a situation for urgent dental care, Lucas Dental Care is currently operating. Please call or email us for information on our operations. This is a new situation for all of us and whilst it’s an uncertain time, our number one priority is supporting you and your family. We look forward to continuing to support you in whatever way we can and ensure you receive care when you need it.