Overall Child Health Includes Regular Dental Visits

April is Oral Health month and the Happy Smile Healthy Child (HSHC) research team, located within the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba (CHRIM) wants to remind parents and caregivers not to skip your child’s dental visits.

“Preventive visits to the dental office are very important, especially for children who are at high risk for tooth decay.” says Dr. Robert Schroth, CHRIM Scientist and Associate Professor in the Department of Preventive Dental Science and the Department of Pediatrics & Child Health at the University of Manitoba.

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of early childhood. Five times more prevalent than asthma. While many dental offices were closed due to Covid-19, plenty have since re-opened.

“Many parents have likely put off their children’s dental visits and haven’t taken their infants for the first dental visit because dental offices were closed during the first wave of COVID-19″ says Dr. Schroth.

Severe Early Childhood Caries (ECC) can negatively affect a child’s overall health and well-being.

Decay at early ages can lead to:

  • Difficulty eating, speaking and sleeping
  • Poor quality oral health
  • Pain and infection
  • Poor self-esteem (“hiding” smile)
  • Increased risk of crooked or crowded adult teeth
  • Dental surgery under general anesthesia

Some things to remember when taking your child to the dentist during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • All dental offices are following COVID-19 protocols
  • Staff wear extra personal protective equipment (PPE)- gowns, masks, and face shields.
  • All surfaces are cleaned and disinfected and all instruments are sterilized.

Healthy Smile Happy Child is always creating resources to help families take care of their children’s teeth including these two videos: Taking Care of Children’s Teeth and What to Expect at a Child’s First Dental Visit.