February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and local pediatric dentists say it’s a good time to focus on setting up appointments you may have avoided because the pandemic has made havoc on oral health.
At the start of the pandemic, dentists’ offices across the country closed for several months for regular preventive dental care, with many only opening for emergency or urgent procedures.
Jimmy Forester, a pediatric dentist at Coastal Pediatric Dentistry in San Luis Obispo, said that’s bad news for children’s oral health.
“The kids suffered,” Forester said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that there was more breakdown and more problems once we started seeing people again.”
Forester said the temporary shutdown and the ongoing pandemic are still causing a ripple effect on tooth decay issues.
“During a pandemic, where people are at home, things go out the window,” Forester said. “Their basic hygiene practices are completely out of whack. Children would wake up and have nowhere to go, then forget to brush their teeth because they don’t go to school.
With kids back in school and many parents returning to work in their offices, Forester said his office is seeing more appointments.
One of the biggest problems he deals with now is cavities.
“The cavities are huge. We certainly haven’t taken control of that yet. We’re constantly dealing with that,” Forester said. “You’ll go to most dentists these days and find there’s like a couple of months of waiting to go and fix cavities because that’s the number of cavities that there are.
Although Forester is still operating his office by separating patients for COVID-19 precautions, he says some practices resulting from the pandemic will remain even after all restrictions are lifted.
“I have all these great air filtration systems now circulating ventilation throughout the building,” Forester said. quality.”
Forester recommends if you’ve been postponing your kids or dental appointments, now is the time to address any issues you or your kids may be having so issues like cavities don’t become a bigger problem.