Coronavirus: Oral Care for Children during Covid-19 Lockdown

2020, like any other year, brought with it an opportunity for a fresh start and new beginnings – It was after all the start of a new decade! Balancing between work and helping kids prepare for the upcoming annual examinations, planning for the summer vacation, life had gotten off to smooth start when all of a sudden, a pall of gloom descended flipping our lives upside down.

The severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which started small in Wuhan, China, is now a fully blown pandemic that has affected the lives of thousands of people across the globe. This is especially worrisome because of the long incubation periods ranging from 2 to 14 days and also because studies show that children and young adults can be asymptomatic or have mild, nonspecific symptoms. Children have specific mechanisms regulating the interaction between the immune system and respiratory machinery, which could be contributing to a milder disease. Possibly, lung infiltrates have a protective role during pediatric SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Though evidence so far suggests that children are less vulnerable to the infection, they can still be potential carriers of the virus. Hence, it is crucial to ensure that they follow social distancing and the lockdown protocols strictly. The summer holidays together with the lockdown has brought with it another challenge, especially for kids – Oral care. Being at home, especially during a summer break means a lot of cookies, pastries, and junk for kids. This may lead to oral health issues and resulting visits to the dentist, which involves the risk of contracting the virus at this point in time. Unfortunately, the lockdown has put the brakes on the possibility of visiting a dentist. But with a little extra care and vigilance during these times, kids can continue having their share of fun n frolic.

Here are some simple dental care tips to put off a visit to the dentist

1. Brushing and Flossing must be of top priority

 Summer breaks usually disrupt a kid’s regular schedule of brushing twice and flossing. It is essential to reinforce these good dental habits in children to ensure oral hygiene. Using an age-appropriate amount of fluoride toothpaste (a smear for tots & kids under the age of three and a pea-sized amount for little ones aged between three and six) is equally important too. Be sure to help them with brushing until around the age of six and then continue to supervise until you know they’re doing it right.

Adding a cavity-fighting mouthwash for the slightly older kids will protect these little mouths from cavities. If you are unsure of what products to use, we, at SmallBites are beyond happy to help! Also, adding an extra brushing session for the days when your kiddo binges on sweets, sticky foods, and a lot of junk will do the trick. With lockdown imposed, the situation may seem a little out of hand as we tend to get busy with the household chores and office work, but its extremely vital to try and have them follow the oral hygiene routine.

2. Indulge in Moderation

We know, kicking sugar habits in kids can be quite a challenge, especially around the holiday season. You may come across as a Scrooge, but your child’s smile is worth that risk! The idea is not to ban or cut off all the treats and candies; the trick here is to have them consume it in moderation. The easiest and the most effective way to do so is to try and transform your home into a healthy zone—stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and lean protein. When kids are home, aim at having well-balanced, nutritious meals and save the splurges for when you’re out of town or at celebrations. Lockdown is an excellent opportunity to explain to them about using just the essential commodities and that too in moderation – and unfortunately, their favourite pie doesn’t make it to the list!

Mindful eating and slowly savouring of cookies or hot chocolate sounds great in theory but is a bad idea in reality. It only takes 20 seconds for the bacteria on your teeth to combine with the sugar and turn into acid. Over time, this reaction results in tooth decay and cavities. So, grazing all day long or sipping on a drink for hours does more damage to the teeth. It’s better to eat that candy or drink the cider in one sitting.

3. Make Healthy Swaps Here and There

Food has a significant impact on your child’s teeth-for better or for worse.  We wouldn’t advise swapping out that gingerbread for a head of lettuce! But, some unhealthy holiday treats can easily be tweaked into something healthier, and bang! Its a win-win situation for the both of you.

For instance, add more milk and less chocolate to that hot chocolate or enjoy some baked apples sprinkled with cinnamon for an evening snack instead of a full pie.

4. Drink Lots of Water

Last but not the least, drink lots of water to keep the body clean and flushed. It’s a tooth’s best friend because it encourages the flow of saliva, neutralizes plaque acids and washes away bacteria and food debris.

Once the lockdown is eased out, don’t forget to book your child’s appointment at Small Bites, to ensure that your children’s smiles are happy and healthy!