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Miss your routine appt? Here’s how to manage.

Even pediatric dentists’ kids get cavities.

A few weeks ago I got busy, like all of us do, and had to move my own kids’ dental appointment. Now I’m kicking myself because the COVID closures forced me to further delay our routine visit. Even with a pediatric dentist dad, my kids have gotten cavities. It happens.

We started coming in more frequently for cleanings and fluoride application to strengthen their teeth and gums. I wanted to keep their risk for problems low and make sure their oral health was optimal.

But now I find myself waiting on routine care for the next few weeks until we reopen for regular care. Already I can see the changes in my children’s mouths, which worries me because as a dentist, I know all too well that the mouth is a window to the body, reflecting my kids’ overall health.

Here’s what I’m doing to help prevent decay and slow down chronic diseases from developing:

  1. Floss. If I had to choose just one thing to do for my kids’ oral health, it would be to floss! Floss helps slow down decay from developing between your teeth and helps prevent gum disease. Believe it or not, his is more important than brushing. Healthy gums and bone are what hold your teeth in!.
  2. Rinse with fluoride mouthwash. You can pick up ACT brand mouthwash on your next grocery run. Bubblegum is our favorite flavor. The fluoride helps form a “shell” to protect enamel from attack by bacterial acids.
  3. Minimize processed carbohydrates. I love a good handful of Cheez-Its and Goldfish crackers as much as the next person, but they can wreak havoc on your teeth. They feed bacteria exactly what they want and stick to teeth in ways that are hard to clean. This really activates the bacteria creating adverse conditions in your mouth. If you do find yourself indulging, try to brush immediately afterwards and don’t graze throughout the day. Drinking lots of water also helps to offset the acid challenges from snacking.
  4. Brush your teeth an extra 30seconds. We normally recommend 2 minutes, but when you go past your regular care date, your mouth is likely to be building up plaque and debris faster now. Once some buildup in your mouth starts, it gains momentum and hardens, making it even more difficult to remove.
  5. Eat healthy, exercise, and try to reduce stress. The body is an interdependent system that is healthier when all of its parts are well. Science has shown the increasing importance and linkage between your overall well being and oral conditions.

Hang on! As soon as our association clears the way, we will be back to help you maintain your oral health. In the meantime we continue to be accessible with emergency care and teledentistry consultations. We remain committed to our community and expect elective care to open up soon!

About the Author

Dr. Chris L. Pham is a board-certified pediatric dentist serving the children of San Diego. Dr. Chris is an active member of the American Dental Association, California Dental Association and has served as president of the San Diego County Dental Society. Dr. Chris has two sons: Carlton (5) and Timothy (6).