School Closures – Some Dental Advice
Our Clapham dentists offer suggestions for this enforced period of closure
This is a difficult time for everyone, and those who now have to keep their children at home for an unknown length of time will possibly find it a particular challenge. Even as adults, a long period of isolation can be challenging, but we can usually find things to do to keep us occupied even if we do feel a little bored at times.
Children will probably find it harder though, especially as their time with friends is likely to be limited. Schools will presumably provide some work for them to do to help with their education but this is likely to still leave a fair amount of spare time.
Where possible, it is best to use this time wisely, and, as dentists, we feel that it does provide an opportunity to help your children understand the importance of good oral care and may, in the long run, help them to grow up with healthier teeth and gums.
Maintaining healthy teeth
One advantage of having your children at home is that it is easier to monitor what they eat. No more swapping the healthy apple you packed for a bar of chocolate at school. Try to keep their diet healthy and tooth friendly and avoid too many sweets which they may want to eat when they are bored. Perhaps limit them to certain times of the day, preferably when they are due to clean their teeth reasonably soon afterwards (but allow at least 30 mins between eating and cleaning as the tooth enamel actually softens when we eat and then re-hardens).
Make sure to supervise them when they clean their teeth if they are young enough, and don’t forget to look after your own teeth and gums too. This might be a good time for both of you to improve the way that you brush your teeth by watching educational videos on the subject. You might be surprised at how inefficiently you are currently brushing.
Depending on their age, this might also be a good opportunity to start your children with flossing. This is something that the Confidental Clinic in Clapham strongly recommends for everyone.
There is no need to frighten your children with stories about bad toothaches and having teeth pulled out. There are plenty of ways that you can teach your children about preventative dental care in a fun way and gradually heighten their awareness. You could get them to draw things for example, perhaps design their ideal toothbrush or even a big smiley face with healthy teeth. You can make up songs or poems or even act out plays about going to see the dentist.
Modern technology offers a whole range of educational tools to help you explain about oral health. There are online games that you could play with them as well as child friendly videos. Do make sure to use a reliable source though as there are still too many sites with dubious content on them that could be harmful rather than helpful. Any UK registered dentist site should be OK as well as reputable toothpaste manufacturers etc.
This looks like being a difficult time for everyone but we can at least try to use this time constructively. We don’t have to spend hours each day watching dental videos and playing dental related games, but a little each day could pay dividends by the time things get back to somewhere near normal. This early additional education could make a big difference to the way that they look after their teeth for the rest of their life.
At the Confidental Clinic in Clapham, we appreciate that there may be a need for some patients to call us to discuss their appointments, particularly during this difficult period of time. You can contact us about this, or any other dental matter, by calling our team on 020 7801 9060.