(WVVA)- More cancellations, and more missed appointments are up significantly when it comes to pediatric dental care.
"A lot of it is due to COVID-19 concerns, school and general illnesses. We're seeing probably a 30% no show rate right now, which impacts what we're doing, but it also means people aren't getting the schedule care that they need to have," Dr. David Najar in Princeton, West Virginia said.
Kids going without dental care- during COVID-19 pandemic.
The American Dental Association reports 40% of children have missed dental appointments. Parental fear of COVID-19 exposure is blamed. It's leading to pediatric tooth decay and a rise in cavities for kids.
"It affects how you function, how they eat and speak and how they feel. Tooth decay is probably the biggest reason that children miss school. So putting off necessary dental preventable appointments, and restore appointments can affect a child's health. And in some cases it can be discomforting, to the child and the family," Dr. Najar said.
While dentist offices are considered to be a high risk for COVID-19 infections, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, infection rates in dentist offices are remaining low.
"The dental office is probably one of the most safest places that you can go in public as far as social distancing, mask, PPE, and general hygiene, and disinfection," Dr. Najar said.
Dr. Najar says there are things parents can do at home to promote good dental health for their children.
"Establish a routine, and follow the routine. Brush, mouthwash, dental floss, a good fluoride rinse daily, at least once a day, or two to three times a day. But at bedtime definitely. You want to create an environment that the children know that once I brush my teeth I don't eat or drink anything but water. In the morning that's an excellent time to clean up so that you don't have bad breathe, and your mouth is clean to minimize problems," Dr. Najar said.