February is Children’s Dental Health Awareness Month. It is a big reminder to make sure you are getting your children (and yourself) to your regular dental appointments for proper dental hygiene and care. As soon as we think we may be coming out of the restrictions and difficulties of COVD-19 we enter a new phase of new strains, vaccine limitations or abrupt outbreaks. COVID-19 delayed preventative care and maintenance appointments for many. Although understandable, this has had a great effect on our health. Millions of people have been prevented from undergoing routine screenings, such as mammography, colonoscopies, and lung imaging. Data from an electronic medical records vendor Epic, found that appointments for breast, cervical, and colon cancer screenings fell by 86% to 94% in March 2020 compared with rates in the previous 3 years.
Dental care is the most common chronic childhood disease and continues into adulthood. Among US adults, 2011–2014 national data indicate that 32.7% had untreated dental caries. Populations vulnerable to COVID-19, including those in low socioeconomic groups, minority groups, older adults, low-literacy individuals, those in rural areas, and the uninsured are also at increased risk for oral disease and associated systemic health problems.
We certainly are in unpredictable times, but we have to consider what we are doing productively with the time we have. I have many patients that have put their lives on hold waiting for this pandemic to be over. They have become more isolated than needed because they refuse to use online connection apps like Zoom, they have been laid off and refuse to seek other work because they refuse to wear a mask and have gained considerable weight due to lack of activity. They refused to continue life under “new rules” and that also means avoiding in person doctors’ appointments.
COVID-19 has had an incredible impact on all of us. Whether grieving the illness and deaths of loved ones or grieving the loss of our previous lives. Let us be mindful to not let the health of ourselves and our children suffer due to preventable illnesses. To learn more about Children’s Dental Health Awareness Month and their 2021 Campaign, ”Water, Nature’s Drink!” please go to: ADA.org/CDHAM