Health professionals have been studying the impact of the pandemic on children's oral health, focusing on a survey conducted by the University of Michigan Medical Center. Their report is based on the responses of 1,882 parents with at least one child between the ages of 3 and 18, a nationally representative sample. One finding—and a major one—is that one in three parents believe that covid-19 has made it more difficult for their children to get preventive dental care.
In the United States, The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends regular teeth cleaning and examinations every six months for children as soon as their first teeth appear. These check-ups are intended to help manage cavities early to prevent them from getting worse, to provide preventive treatment, and to educate parents and children about good oral hygiene. But that was a schedule developed before the pandemic, which has considerably delayed certain treatments, on both sides of the Atlantic as in many countries around the world.
Six out of ten parents surveyed tried to continue their children's preventive dental care during the pandemic. And while some were successful, almost a quarter (24 per cent) say they experienced delays in getting this care, and 7 per cent say they were unable to get a single appointment. The closing of dental offices is among the reasons cited by respondents, as is the fact that some dentists have focused solely on urgent care. But in several cases, some parents simply say they were afraid of being exposed to COVID-19, delaying dental appointments on their own.