Children’s Dentistry: Dental Care Must Continue Despite The Pandemic

Children’s Dentistry: Dental Care Must Continue Despite The Pandemic


Most kids don’t like a trip to the dentist. Most adults don’t like a trip to the dentist. And the global pandemic that the world has been learning to navigate since the final months of 2019, is making children’s oral health and dental care more curly than a Dr Seuss character’s tail.

The gold standard of paediatric dentistry always, is the prevention of poor oral health in children. Even moreso in these now pandemic times, of what was declared firstly, a Public Health Emergency in January 2020. Oral health has been a victim of Covid-19.

Adequate management of oral health in children is crucially important during an epidemic and its periods of lock-down. That’s all further complicated by having to personally learn what represents an  emergency, given that even a mouth ulcer is painful but will disappear in a day or two. For many of us a trip saved to the dentist is an expense rather avoided. Turn the heat up on all that by the parent or guardian responsibility to start knowing the difference in oral tenderness or discomfort in a growing, ergo changing, mouth. A first child.

A toddler. A kid not old enough to be able to articulate what hurts in their mouth.

And then try telling that parent or guardian holding a screaming and distressed child that there is the sanctioned implementation of specific protocols for what does not, and what does fall within the category of a child dental emergency.

Those last three words are chilling in themselves. Even were there two paediatric dentists in a 24-hour fully equipped surgery for every child on earth never further than ten metres from where any child is playing, sleeping, or just being, they are not three words that should ever be together. Whichever order in which you might want to put them. We’ll make sure our kids can get Macca’s so easily.

It’s a pity we’re not becoming much more innovative in our thinking of the things that children need.

Optimum oral health is most certainly one of those things. With good gut health proven to drive this biological machine, strong straight teeth and a healthy mouth are the very beginning of that process and maintenance of ongoing, better health. Research has shown that it is the healthy food eaten as a child that sets an adult up for life.  Had we been undernourished or nutritionally depleted over our growth years, from our early 20s we can then eat only the cleanest, slowest, most seasonal, plant-based diet  –  and without taking away the validity of that as a valid life choice  –  the set-for-life general health switch has been already set.

A published new study by the University of Melbourne highlights the impact on already vulnerable children in Australia, already experiencing higher levels of serious dental issues, the pandemic has on providing this much-needed dental care. Its research revealed 881,454 fewer services were provided in 2019 than 2020.

Restrictions imposed on dentists effectively shut practices down from late March through to April, and again from July to September. During these periods part of those constraints was to provide emergency dental care only.

It’s challenging enough adhering to the necessarily rigorous infection control protocols for every dental environment directly affected by COVID‐19 outbreaks; and it’s more than essential to take the expertise of paediatric dentists to communities that now, whether by distance or instance, are remote.

Dentists now post more information and detail regarding the dynamics of children’s oral health. Tooth brushing tips and easily accessed information focusses on the very things you can do to maintain the dental health of your kids during the pandemic.

So there are challenges. And they can seem rather overwhelming. There is always our part to do, which in this case is everything that’s not happening in the dentist’s chair. The quality and types of food. Regular and age-appropriate overseeing of a child’s toothbrush techniques. Not making a chore that they happily avoid.

There are many children’s dentists with a reputation for friendly gentle approach. You want your kid to not be phased by a trip to the dentist. I think most adults would welcome a free trip to the dentist just for the ‘free’ part.




Immigrant Children Adapting to Life in Australia

The truth is that we are defined by our environment. Human beings are herd animals and we are shaped by the communities in which we live. This is why adult migrants, often, struggle to fit into their new surroundings, whilst their children assimilate and integrate into their new homelands with ease. Young people want to fit in and do not carry the identity baggage from their past. Immigrant children adapting to life in Australia can be seen in sporting teams and at schools everywhere. Life is about learning the customs and behaviours of your community and country. For kids this is a piece of cake, even for kids who do not usually eat cake at home.

The Parents Miss the Old World Much More

In fact, much of the friction in migrant families is due to the parents establishing islands or ghettoes of Little Italy, Chinatown, or wherever they are from. These frozen slices of life from the homeland become barriers for the children of immigrants fitting in. Old customs become weights hanging around the necks of these migrant kids. The parents miss their old worlds much more than their children who are moving on, into the here and now. Of course, South African kids can access confectionary from back home via expat stores, but I bet it is the big kids (Mum and Dad) who miss the old flavours most.

Let the Young Ones Embrace the New

It can be a tough balancing act for migrants, not to get in the way of their children’s success in making a new life and not completely forgetting their roots. Immigrant children adapting to life in Australia do it with good grace, especially if their parents can give them the space to be whole in their new identity and not split. Life is governed by cycles and we naturally turn to the pages of our family’s past when we get a good bit older. Let the young ones embrace the new whilst they are young.

Biltong is now searched 6000 times per month in Australia on Google and this tells us a few things. South African expats in Australia have established some flourishing food businesses. Perhaps, they are, also, passing on the biltong banner to their progeny in terms of tastes and trends. Their homes may, indeed, be nests of diverse interests and creativity in their new homeland. Whether it be China, Korea, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, India or somewhere else, the multicultural mix is a great thing in Australia and long may it live.

Electrical Risks For Children

One cannot dispute the fact that we live in the electromagnetic age. James Clerk Maxwell did not invent the stuff but he defined it via his equations. Physicists have set out their laws of thermodynamics and found the forces at work in our universe. Electricity powers much of our world in the 21C, especially if you live on the wealthier side of the planet. Children who can afford to possess electronic devices, like phones and computers, are spellbound by the dancing dots on their screens. Are there electrical risks for children? Well, that is a multilevel question with more than one answer.


Electricity is Safely Wrapped in Wires & Conduit


Electricity, when it is safely wrapped in wires and conduit, poses little risk for children who have no access to what lies beneath. Even something like a ceiling fan is usually above the reach of a child and its workings operate inside a casing. Children must be taught not to pry and leave well enough alone, when it comes to electrical engines and machines. Of course, with proper adult supervision a curious child may be introduced to the inner workings of electrical devices for educational purposes. Indeed, we positively encourage an interest in the STEM subjects today.


Exposure to Long-Term Low-Level Radiation


Electrical risks for children may exist beyond the direct shock of contact with current. Research continues into the effects of long-term exposure to low level electromagnetic radiation. Science has, however, found no case to answer so far. Parents worry about the effects of all that staring into screens by their children from phones to computers to TV. Will this have adverse consequences on the development and wellbeing of our children? Studies continue but nothing concrete has emerged as yet. We seem to prefer to gaze into a small screen than to look deeply into each other’s eyes and faces.


Perhaps, we are all evolving toward autism and will eventually relinquish our Theory of Mind? Human beings and our big brains are heading up a path never before taken. Our children will continue to live very different different lives to their ancestors. Electricity is a huge part of that divergence from what has gone before. We are all enamoured by the high-tech devices that we as a civilisation can create. The COVID-19 coronavirus global pandemic has only strengthened our shift toward digital devices powered by electricity. Risks there may be but we are prepared to take them in the 21C.

Children Are the Hidden Victims of COVID-19

In Queensland the police are about to reach 100, 000 public interactions related to domestic violence incidents this financial year. Many of these involve couples with children and have included several high-profile grizzly murders. Children are the hidden victims of COVID-19 coronavirus, despite the fact that this disease does not target their demographic. We, as a community, have tended to focus on the direct casualties of this pandemic and have, so far, glossed over the many indirect victims. Children are dependent upon the good will of their parents and carers, when it comes to their wellbeing and safety.

Parents Lashing Out at Kids Whilst Under Pressure

If the economic catastrophe is stressing out adults across Australia and around the world, then, the knock-on effect hits kids hard. An emergency visit to the dentist may be more than just a case of good oral hygiene. Parents lashing out at kids whilst under pressure are ensuring that children are the hidden victims of COVID-19. It is a moot point whether government’s spend on public relations campaigns visible on TV screens aimed at domestic violence in the home during the pandemic will do anything to alleviate the problem. It seems that the modern antidote to societal problems is to be seen to be doing something rather than actually doing something.

Education Does Not Stop When People Leave School

It is a good thing that we are, at least, talking about these black holes within families and households. The family unit is often pitched as the good within our moral compasses but there are, also, plenty of less than desirable family situations in Australia. Education does not stop when people leave school. Real learning never stops and all of us need to be made aware of this. Adults with kids are on the steepest learning curve of all in my experience. We need more open discussion about what being a parent really means and more acknowledgement for ongoing training in this sector.

The Australian governments higher education policy move to make humanities degrees double the cost of science degrees will not help make Australia a more tolerant and pluralistic society. What needs to happen is to make human right’s units mandatory secondary schooling requirements in this country. It is not enough to get a job and make money, we need Australian citizens to be so much more than this. Especially for the sake of our children and for the sake of their mothers.

The Importance of Oral Health in Children

It is the parents’ responsibility to ensure the health and well-being of their children. It does not only cover their overall physical health, but also their oral health especially in this time of pandemic. When talking about oral hygiene, there’s a common misconception that it is only about having the picture-perfect smile. But the truth is, it is more than that. One of the importance of oral health in children is that kids with dental issues often tend to miss school. This could have been avoided if they have been practicing good oral hygiene. If and when your child experiences dental problems, make sure they visit a dentist.

The Importance of Oral Health in Children

A lot of parents think that oral health in children isn’t that important. They believe that the baby teeth that their kids will lose can still be replaced. Truth be told, there are many reasons that emphasises the importance of oral health in children other than losing teeth. For one, research shows that kids without dental issues are most likely to maintain a positive self-image as they grow older, and do better in school. Here are other reasons that highlight the importance of oral health in children.

  • Promotes good nutrition and a sound sleep

A child that has tooth problems makes it troublesome for him/her to eat properly and have a good night’s sleep. Chewing the food becomes a strenuous task. When this happens, the child cannot eat the right food that will nourish him/her and give the energy he/she needs. In addition, the kid cannot sleep soundly if his/her mouth is thumping.

  • Becomes a good habit

Even if the milk teeth will be replaced by permanent ones, the parents should still encourage their kids to practice proper oral hygiene at a young age. This way, it becomes a good habit that the kid will carry on as he gets older. Moreover, practicing good oral hygiene is an effective way of steering clear from dental problems.

  • Bolsters the overall health

There are studies that illustrate the relationship of oral health to a child’s overall health and well-being. If your child always experiences dental problems, he/she is highly susceptible to develop heart problems and diabetes.

Chiropractic Treatment for Children: Helpful or Harmful?

The practice of chiropractic has been growing in popularity receiving its fair share of the spotlight over the years. This revolves around the diagnosis and treatment of unverified mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system. It avoids the use of drugs and surgery making the practice itself very much accessible to a huge number of individuals in the present. This is the reason why parents even decide to have their child treated by a chiropractor. However, before you decide to setup an appointment for your child, let us first look at whether kids benefit from chiro or whether their bodies are not ready for those sometimes shocking manipulations.

Chiropractic Treatment for Children: Helpful or Harmful?

As mentioned earlier, chiropractic is very much well received due to the fact that the treatment is less intrusive which is great for patients who want to avoid going through intensive surgical operations. Chiropractic care can be kids’ stuff and the American Chiropractic Association agrees. Pediatric chiropractic care, when administered properly, is safe and effective for the treatment of a variety of conditions. For that matter, the association considers chiropractors to be important members of the integrative pediatric health care team.

A growing number of parents feel the same way as they are turning to chiropractors to treat their kids. The reason behind this is that parents are concerned about the frequent use of antibiotics which can have serious repercussions to children later down the line. For that matter some parents are seeking chiropractic care for everything from stomachaches to runny noses.

With the age of modern technology, children are exposed to several forms of entertainment. They spend a great amount of time with electronic gadgets on a regular day to day basis because of that. This however, can result to a number of problems including tech neck. This is known as a painful condition of the cervical spine that is associated with a downward-looking gaze putting increased stressors on the neck muscles and joints. Fortunately, tech neck is treatable with the help of experience chiropractors allowing kids to restore their posture and form.

Chiropractic care does indeed offer plenty of benefits to young and old ones alike. But what about with infants? The question “Is chiropractic care safe for babies?” is a pretty common and is asked by a huge number of parents. Many chiropractors believe that the adjustments can help alleviate colic, asthma, fever and ear infections.

Although rare, there have been cases where children have been seriously hurt after spinal manipulation. A good example of this is with the case of a Melbourne chiropractor who cracked back of baby temporarily banned from treating children. Dr. Ian John Rossborough appeared in a video where he was seen manipulating the spine of a four-day-old baby to treat colic.

The overall safety of chiropractic care relies on its practitioner. This is the reason why it is very important for patients to find professional chiropractors who also have the license to back their day to day activities up. Finding a trusted family friendly chiropractor can also go a long way in developing your child’s growth. You will also be getting in touch with them from time to time so having their contact information is required. Last but definitely not the least is for parents to communicate with all the members of the health care team to determine if chiropractic care is best for their children.

Keeping Our Disabled Children Healthy

Disabled children, like all children, deserve the very best health services available in Australia. Unfortunately, sometimes they just do not get the attention they need from health practitioners and services. Whether this failing is due to parental issues or is more systematically endemic, there are changes afoot to make sure that this situation improves. Passionate advocates from within organisations representing the families and carers of people with disability are making their voice heard in local, state and federal government. There are programs and consultative processes underway in many areas around Sydney to fast track major shifts in this sector.

Keeping Our Disabled Children Healthy

Community groups are linking up and finding common voice on what needs to be done to improve health services for children with disability. There are disability support groups for children and their families. These groups aim to help lighten the load that many families feel with disability. Knowing that you are not alone in your experiences and that together these families can help each other.  Communication between individuals, groups and the community is part of the solution to improving the health of kids with disabilities. Support on the ground. and support from the legislators making changes for the better, will make a difference in this space.

Schools are becoming more disability friendly and flexible in their approaches to kids with special needs. It really needs to be a policy of meeting individual requirements; and not one size fits all. Parents and families must be engaged by all institutions in the educational and healthcare fields; they are there to service what these families and their disabled children need. Communities need to come together inclusively and not leave these valuable members on the outer. Too many families become isolated and suffer from that experience.

Putting some fun back into life for carers and parents, can be made possible through respite programs and support networks. We must all make this issue a priority within our own communities. Don’t hang back, step forward and see what you can do within your sporting, religious, recreational and regional groups and organisations. Put disability at the top of your priorities in terms of being inclusive and supportive. Australia is beginning to grow up and this can be seen in the acceptance of diversity within our communities. Keeping our disabled children healthy depends on affirmative action taken by us all. We cannot just leave it up to government agencies.