Dentists warn parents to keep up on kids’ dental care

Jennifer E. Engen

AVON, OH- As we head into another year of this pandemic, dentists are encouraging parents not to push off their child’s dental appointment. Pediatric dentists are seeing an uptick in patients with tooth decay.

The pandemic has impacted a lot for children, including their teeth. Pediatric dentists say parents pushing off their child’s cleanings over the past few years has created a lot of cavity-prone children.

“A cavity can spread pretty quickly,” said Dr. Todd Bernard, a pediatric dentist at Kidsmile, Inc. “The longer you defer that treatment, what might have been a simple filling, has turned into a lengthier more advanced procedure.”

Dr. Jason Barb is a pediatric dentist and owner of Kidsmile, Inc. He agrees with Dr. Bernard and says kids are resilient, so a lot of times parents don’t even notice their child has a problem.

“It’s amazing how many kids learn to eat on the side that doesn’t hurt,” said Dr. Barb. “They’ll come in and I’ll say ‘does it hurt’ and they say ‘no’ and I’ll say ‘does it hurt when you eat’ and they’ll say ‘well I don’t eat on that side of my mouth because it hurts.’”

Another problem for kids is that being home more means more snacking. Dentists say kids should avoid the sugary drinks.

“When you’re sitting all day at a computer kids are sipping on things all day long,” said Dr. Barb. “It’s the constant sipping which is the worst part of it.”

A dentist office is a place where kids felt stressed even before the pandemic. The pediatric dentists at Kidsmile have some tips and tricks to help relieve that stress.

“I do a lot of distraction talking,” said Dr. Barb. “I know a lot about Paw Patrol and Marvels and I’m all up on that.”

Dr. Bernard agreed. “I make a connection and try and start with something else,” he said. “Don’t go right to teeth, talk about school or anything on their minds.”

The lobby at Kidsmile has changed, too. They had to remove all the books and toys which the dentists say had really helped with kids’ anxiety. They now hand out little toys and still try to make it a fun experience. Especially since they say children should be getting their teeth cleaned every six months.

“You only make things worse by putting things off,” said Dr. Bernard. “So really try and make sure you keep your appointments. We’re well prepared and feel very comfortable and try and make everyone else feel comfortable as far as getting the treatment done.”

Dentists say you should start taking your child in for teeth cleanings when they turn 18 months old.

Dentists warn parents to keep up on kids’ dental care

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