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Democracy Trailblazers ignite enthusiasm among teen voters; CA monster blizzard batters Tahoe, Mammoth, Sierra amid avalanche warnings; MN transportation sector could be next in line for carbon-free standard; IN teachers 'stunned' by lawmakers' bid to bypass collective bargaining.

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Nikki Haley says she may not endorse the GOP nominee, President Biden says the U-S will continue air-dropping aid into Gaza and more states look at ditching the electoral college for a national popular vote.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Kids' 'COVID Cavities' Lingering Effect of Pandemic

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Thursday, January 5, 2023   

Young kids and teens have gotten out of regular teeth brushing and flossing, and dentists say "COVID cavities" are a lingering effect of the pandemic.

Dr. Martha Ann Keels of Duke Street Pediatric Dentistry said providers are working to get children back on track. She explained the past few years of virtual schooling at home meant more frequent munching on sugary and chewy snacks, which has led to an uptick in molar cavities.

Keels' top tip for parents in the new year is to stay away from chewy foods.

"Gravitate towards the things that melt like chocolate and M&Ms, and then ice cream or sorbets are a great choice," Keels recommended. "Things that melt off your teeth are a much smarter choice than things that are sticky."

One study published last summer found more parents said their kids' dental health was worse compared to 2019. Increased risk of cavities and other teeth problems were more likely in Hispanic or non-White children, low-income households, and households without health coverage.

Proper oral care begins as soon as teeth crop up in babies. Keels advised starting to floss young children's teeth to prevent cavities which are not visible, and keep plague buildup at bay.

"Parents can be fooled looking in their child's mouth and go, 'Oh, my kid's teeth are, like, cavity free,' and then we get those first X-rays at four, and we sadly say your child's got a mouthful of cavities between their teeth," Keels noted.

Keels added providers are also seeing more families neglect brushing routines and missed appointments as they struggle with depression, anxiety and other mental-health issues.

"So, if you're a parent, and you're anxious or depressed, it's hard to also take care of your children and get back on the right track of taking care of yourself, as well as your children's teeth," Keels acknowledged. "I certainly understand that."

Research shows people suffering from depression tend to have poor dental hygiene and are at higher risk of periodontal disease and mouth pain. The American Dental Association noted thumb-sucking and other stress-related habits can negatively affect kids' teeth.

Disclosure: The North Carolina Dental Society contributes to our fund for reporting on Education, and Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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