Disclaimer :: This post is sponsored by our friends at Lafayette Pediatric Dentistry and authored by Pediatric Dentist, Dr. Anita Gouri.
Tooth Love in the Time of COVID
I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during this strange and difficult time. As I’m sure many of you know, the Louisiana Department of Health has mandated the closure of all dental offices to routine dental care and all procedures other than emergencies. So I, like many of you, am learning to homeschool (I always knew I’d be a horrible teacher), craft (do slime kits count?), and complete long-standing home projects while being unemployed. (Never again will I whine about all the things I could get done around the house “if I just had the time.”)
When not dealing with the obvious anxiety that a pandemic-induced business closure creates, I will say that I am thoroughly enjoying more time with my two wonderful daughters.
I would always fantasize about extra time with my family during the middle of a hectic work week, and while I wish this was happening under more positive circumstances (like, say, the government declaring Christmas a month-long holiday?), I take note of how precious and fun these weeks off with them truly are.
With that however, comes the extra. The extra screen time I turn a blind eye to. The extra messiness that I just cleaned up. The extra snacking …. oh the snacking. My two children, who have the genetic makeup of the walking stick’s more skinny cousin, somehow manage to constantly want snacks at all times of the day. At this rate, it’s impossible to make sure dentist mommy gets her say. Sweet, starchy, grab-n-go snacks have become part of the extra (with a side of guilt).
So of course, I’m making them brush their teeth extra! After enduring many “Just because you’re a dentist we have to brush our teeth more than other kids! It’s not fair!” types of comments, we get the job done after a couple of minutes (“years” to them), and continue to go about the rest of our day in quarantine ….
In all seriousness though, all of us should be caring more for our teeth if our new normal involves more frequent snack intake. It’s just going to be too easy to sideline dental hygiene when our minimum goal is to just make it through the day sane. Believe me, I get it, and I’m right there with you! But please try to throw in more quality time with the tooth brush and floss, because as we always say, “You snack all day, you get decay…” And literally, my kids are snacking all day.
The same rules apply for beverages as well – have your children drink plenty of water and plain milk instead of juices and sports drinks, which are very high in sugar.
Remember too that there are healthier options for teeth that are not so high in sticky starches, which eventually break down into sugars that fuel the cavity-causing bacteria in our mouths.
Another extra I’m seeing during this time is hurt teeth. Extra playtime and extra sibling fights have led to more chipped teeth and busted lips. And unfortunately, teeth in need of dental care and maintenance are starting to suffer due to our having to cancel all checkups and most treatment appointments. But rest assured, however, that if your child is experiencing acute conditions such as pain, infection, trauma, or difficulty eating, we ARE allowed to treat your child! Not sure what constitutes an emergency? Here’s a helpful graphic:
Discomfort, infection, and facial injury are all conditions that may warrant immediate attention. If your infant is having difficulty or pain with eating, especially if there is poor weight gain, we need to know. And if you’re just not sure how emergent the situation is, call us anyway!
We are as anxious as you are for things to get back to normal, but just know that by temporarily closing, we are doing our part to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus by avoiding the use of aerosol-creating dental equipment as much as possible. If you do have an urgent condition and need to be seen by us, rest assured that we have doubled our office sanitation procedures, restricted the amount of people in the building at one time, and screen all personnel and visitors for any signs or recent history of illness.
We miss everyone terribly and cannot wait to see your friendly faces again! In the meantime, stay home and stay safe. If you need us, we are here.
For more information on Lafayette Pediatric Dentistry or Dr. Anita Gouri visit:
About the Author
Dr. Anita Gouri, a pediatric dentist, has been practicing in Lafayette for 10 years and is the owner of Lafayette Pediatric Dentistry. She graduated from LSU School of Dentistry in 2006, receiving honors including Outstanding Achievement in Pediatric Dentistry, Honors in Research, and the Carl A. Baldridge Academic Scholarship. She completed her residency in pediatric dentistry at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington DC in 2008 and became a board certified diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry in 2009. In 2010, her research on dental pain assessment was published in Pediatric Dentistry. She also has specialized training in treating babies and children who have tongue and lip ties. She is a member of the Academy of Laser Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the Louisiana Dental Association, the Southwestern Society of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, as well as the C. Edmund Kells and Omicron Kappa Upsilon Dental Honor Societies. Dr. Gouri, her husband, and their two children enjoy travel, Saints football, good food and good friends.