Social Distancing Could Affect Your Kids’ Teeth

Maintaining Dental Hygiene During COVID

Home not-alone? COVID affects everyone’s schedule and way of life in some way. In order to maintain social distancing many of us now work remotely from home, including many kids, who are learning remotely too.

Maintaining Dental Hygiene During COVIDWith everyone under one roof, working and studying from home, it can really test the the stress level, and lifestyle, of any household. And it can also affect really affect the health of your family’s oral hygiene, especially kids, tweens and teens.

Why? Because everyone’s busy. Parental rules ease up, and more candy and soda sneak in. At the same time, tooth brushing time decreases. More sugar and less time on dental hygiene (brushing and flossing) is a bad combination that provides cavity causing bacteria to run amok in our mouths, promoting tooth decay and gum disease.

And how does it happen? Tooth decay begins with bacteria that live naturally in our mouths. In order to thrive, this bacteria burns sugar, which is then converted into acid. And it’s this acid that then eats away at the enamel of our teeth, which eventually leads to tooth decay and cavities.

Sugary foods like ice cream, candy, and sodas (not to mention sports drinks) all provide fuel for bacteria to grow. And these sugary foods can cause even more havoc if they are also acidic or sticky.

Foods That Can Affect Your Teeth During Social Distancing:

  • Foods with a lot of sugar – like granola bars and sweetened cereals.
  • Gummy vitamins (especially when consumed after kids brush their teeth).
  • Sticky foods like gummy bears, taffy, skittles or even dried fruits. These sticky foods tend to linger longer on the teeth, providing the bacteria with bonus time to inflict more damage.
  • Hard candies – the ones that take a while to work through, such as jolly ranchers, lollipops, even cough drops. These culprits allow the sugar to hang out in the mouth for extra innings.
  • Foods that are starchy, such as French fries, pretzels, crackers and white bread. These types of foods can easily lodge between teeth and get stuck for prolonged periods of time, quickly converting to sugar by pre-digestive saliva. Yum!
  • Acidic drinks and foods can eat away at the enamel of teeth. Tomatoes, soda drinks and citrus fruits, or juices, are typical culprits.
  • Ice (especially in your sodas!) Chewing ice may create tiny fractures in the teeth that can, over time, harbor even more bacteria that can lead to additional breakage.

It’s always going to be a battle with your kids to keep those sugary foods under control and stay vigilant of their dental hygiene. But if you try to eat well, and incorporate some dental friendly foods, and don’t rush the dental hygiene, your family will have a better chance to maintain good oral health during these unprecedented times.

Stay On Top of Routine Dental Exams & Teeth Cleanings
One of the best ways to prevent cavities for your family is to help them stay on track with their semi-annual routine dental exams and teeth cleanings.

If it’s been a while since your kids have been in for a dental exam and cleaning, please give us a call at (206) 524-1000 to schedule their appointment, or request an appointment online.

P.S. Concerned about the safety for your kids’ dental care? Here’s how we’re keeping everyone safe!

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