While many parents feel that Covid-19 has made it difficult to get dental care for their children, some noticed improvements in how their children are taking care of their teeth and gums at home during the pandemic, according to a poll in the US.
Others found that the dental office had closed or reduced patient visits to urgent cases, according to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan.
“Regular preventive dental care helps keep children’s teeth healthy and allows providers to address any tooth decay or dental problems before they become more serious,” said Mott Poll Co-director Sarah Clark.
“Our findings highlight how the pandemic may have disrupted families’ dental care and exasperated potential disparities among those with insurance barriers.”
Some parents attempted to continue their child’s regular dental check-ups, only to find a lengthy wait time for an appointment, Clark said.
But the Mott Poll report revealed a silver lining too: One in four parents described improvements in how their children are taking care of their teeth and gums at home during the pandemic.
The nationally representative report is based on responses from 1,882 parents with at least one child aged 3-18.
The American Association of Pediatric Dentists recommends that children receive regular teeth cleaning and exams every six months, starting when their first tooth comes in.
Check-ups provide a consistent opportunity to identify and treat tooth decay, to apply protective treatments like sealants and fluoride varnish, and to educate parents and children about good dental hygiene.
But to protect patients and staff, some dental offices have changed or limited their operations to limit the spread of Covid-19.
Sixty percent of parents in the poll have tried to get preventive dental care for their child since the pandemic started.
While most got an appointment in the usual time frame, 24 per cent experienced a delay, and 7 per cent could not get an appointment at all, said the report.
Overall, one in three parents feel Covid-19 has made it harder to get preventive dental care for their child.