The incoming President of the Irish Dental Association (IDA) has stressed that back to school time is the perfect reminder for booking your dental check-up, and this year it has never been as important in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
With schools set to reopen after being closed for six months, dentists are urging parents to ensure their children attend for a routine check-up in what is a safe environment.
Dr Anne O’Neill said: “Covid-19 has caused significant disruption this year, children have had months with altered schedules, and we are concerned that many children may have missed out on essential check-ups since schools closed in March. This time of year has always been associated with a dental check-up reminder and 2020 should be no different.”
Dr. O’Neill said that dentistry was open for business throughout Ireland and that dental practices were safe places for patients. “Dentists have always prioritised the safety of patients, their staff and themselves, they understand the details of infection control like few other businesses, they ensure that their practices are cleaned to the highest standard and they are following Covid-19 guidelines to mitigate any risk of infection. You should not be concerned about going to your dentist for a check-up.”
Dr. O’Neill said: “Dental check-ups are key because not only do they serve to identify issues that may have developed since the last visit to the dentist, they also get your child used to the dental practice and ensure they develop good oral health habits from a young age. This year we have all experienced the difficult changes related to the pandemic, and children have been out of their routines for the past number of months.
“While back to school can be a very expensive time of year, it is a key reminder time for parents to book that dental check-up at a time that suits to build the positive relationship between children, their teeth, their habits and their dentist. It is also a good time to discuss and update our toothbrushes and toothbrushing habits with our children.”
She said that parents were uniquely placed to influence food habits in children by adopting a healthy lunchbox for school.
“Parents should pack food that will sustain children for school time – avoid sugary or fizzy drinks and snacks. Be aware of how much time they have for eating and opt for healthy foods: cheese, fresh fruit, vegetable sticks, sandwiches, wraps, plain water or milk are all welcome additions to a lunchbox. For dental health, how often we have sugar is as important as how much, so it best to be limited during school hours.”
Dr. O’Neill said that Covid-19 had introduced a lot of additional challenges for our children going back to school, but that it was important that we don’t forget the importance of oral health in our back to school lists.