NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CONSUMER REPORTS/WTVF) — While we've all been so focused on the coronavirus this past year, dentists say we've been forgetting about our oral health.
Many families have not only skipped doctor appointments, but also dental visits, which could be a problem for little ones just learning to take care of their teeth.
However, dentists say precautions are in place, so pick up the phone and make an appointment.
“Now is a good time to get back on track with your kids' oral health. Dental offices are following rigorous safety measures so parents feel comfortable taking their children to the dentist,” said Kevin Loria with Consumer Reports
Pediatric dentist Dr. Mrunal Parmar agrees.
“As with everything with the pandemic, a little apprehension is normal, but it’s important to maintain good oral health. Their routine visits are important and you want to maintain that proper care and that foundation.” Parmar said.
Cavities are the most common childhood disease. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that by age 3, one in four children will have one or more cavities. That’s why it is important to teach our children good oral hygiene habits from an early age.
“Your children's first dental visit should be within the first six months after their first tooth erupts, and no later than their first year of age, and then every six months after that,” Loria said.
“It goes beyond just cleaning teeth, it also helps build habits and routines that carry to other aspects of their lives," Parmar added.
It’s also important for parents to help kids maintain healthy habits at home.
“Brushing twice a day, flossing. Kids are no different than adults. We take care of ourselves, we want to take care of their teeth," Parmar said.
As soon as your child has a tooth, you can start brushing twice a day. You don't need a lot of toothpaste. Just about the size of a grain of rice will do. Then when they reach 3 years old, you can start using a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste, which helps prevent cavities.