ANDERSON — While many people are focusing on personal health during this pandemic, parents are being urged to focus on their children's teeth.
Dr. Elizabeth Simpson spent the last day of her 30's serving others by giving free preventative care and doing exams for little ones.
"For uninsured patients, it's probably about $100 for a visit that we're doing for free for people, completely free as part of 'Give a Kid a Smile Day,'" said Simpson.
Dental schools, clinics, and private practices like Meridian Dental on Ohio street in Anderson will be offering screenings, treatments, and exams on special days.
“Prevention is always less expensive than treatment. It's always more comfortable than treatment. One of the things that we really want to enforce is that your child's first dental visit should be by 1 year old. Parents might think, 'what are they going to do with the dentist?' Well, the main thing that we do, besides checking the child, is talking to the parents about oral hygiene and about their nutritional habits for their child,” said Dr. Simpson.
This month is extra special because it happens to be Children’s Oral Health Month.
“Studies have shown that only 1% of COVID outbreaks have come from a dental office. It is a really safe thing to have your family come into the dentist,” said Dr. Simpson.
Tips for parents from Dr. Simpson:
- “By one-year-old, even if your child has one tooth just bring them in so we can take a look. and so, we can do education for the parents,” said Dr. Simpson.
- “I would say is if you have a child where their teeth are touching each other, you actually need to start flossing. the earlier you do it, the easier it's going to be. We suggest that they use the premade floss sticks, and just go in, if you give your child a bath. make flossing part of the bedtime routine,” said Dr. Simpson.
- “Finally, cut back on the juice. People love juice for themselves, they love it for their kids, you know they want their child to get vitamin c, but juice is really harmful for tea. there's a lot of acid in it there's a lot of sugar in it. and so, a lot of times we're seeing kids that have a lot of cavities, because they drink so much juice. so try and cut down on juice, even if you water it down over time and eventually get it to where they're drinking water more often,” said Dr.Simpson.
Dr. Simpson says she plans to do more child oral health events connected to the Give a Chile a Smile initiative put on by the American Dentistry Association.
“You know how the eyes are the window of the soul, well your mouth is the portal to your body, so everything you eat, you know, even if you think about the air we breathe, it's coming in a lot of times through our mouth. All the things that we're ingesting start with the mouth, and so you can see, if you have a healthy person, their mouth is usually healthy, but you're not really going to have a person who has really great overall health, that has an unhealthy mouth,” said Dr. Simpson.
The events can be done at any time during the year. The initiative itself started in 2003 in St. Louis.
There are three Meridian Dental locations.