COVID-19 has made it harder for many people to consistently smile, but did you know neglecting dental care during the pandemic can negatively impact your overall health? Dr. Richard Gesker, chief dental officer for UnitedHealthcare, joined us to talk about the importance of dental care, especially for children. Many dental offices temporarily closed during the pandemic and some people are still staying away from care. Other than in places where COVID-19 is spreading uncontrolled, they don’t want you to skip routine dental visits. It is absolutely critical for children to maintain these visits because, by age five nearly 50% of all children have at least one cavity.
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. Can you share some good oral health tips for parents and children?
Parents will want to start early by cleaning their baby’s gums with a soft cloth and warm water. Starting around age two, start using a soft-bristle brush and a dab of fluoride toothpaste. But make sure to teach your child to spit out the toothpaste. And when back teeth begin to erupt, parents need to teach their children how to floss – this all promotes good (1) gum health, (2) avoids gingivitis and (3) prevents cavities. This will also instills good oral-health habits and by encouraging lifelong dental health.
If people have delayed trips to the dentist, how can they improve their oral hygiene at home?
It’s time to double-down on what we already know. At United Healthcare, we recommend brushing your teeth for 2-minutes twice-per-day…, and after meals– and of course before bed. Then rinsing with mouthwash for 30-secondsis good too. But flossing daily is the key; and consider adding a water flosser and tongue scrapper for additional health and great breath.
Great tips for at home, but we should still make those dental appointments, right?
Yes, let’s be very clear here. The American Dental Association recommends check-ups, cleanings and routine care to continue during COVID-19. However, please avoid non-emergency dental care IF you are living in a place with intense, uncontrolled community spread of COVID-19.
For more information visit UHC.com.
Sponsored by United Healthcare. Opinions expressed by the guest(s) on this program are solely those of the guest(s) and are not endorsed by this television station.