We are always reminded to take care of our teeth, but this instruction is now more critical than ever. Dental offices across the US, from Scottsdale to Pasadena, along with other businesses, are encouraged (or required) to temporarily close to prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This makes random or scheduled visits to the dentist impossible.
Although many dentists will open their offices on a case-by-case basis for emergency treatments, other dental procedures won’t be available until the end of the outbreak or shutdown. If you don’t have any dental emergencies or oral pain, it would be wise to postpone visiting the dentist to avoid potential exposure to COVID-19.
However, improving your dental hygiene and keeping your teeth and gums healthy during this time are recommended. Let’s revisit some valuable oral health reminders (some of which we learned in kindergarten):
1. Develop regular brushing and flossing habits
Brushing before breakfast and before bed is the most straightforward dental hygiene routine to master. Use a soft toothbrush and do small, up-and-down movements to break down plaque and bacteria. For areas that your toothbrush can’t reach, use floss to ensure that your teeth are thoroughly clean.
2. Disinfect using mouthwash
Studies have shown that mouthwash, particularly those with hydrogen peroxide, has antiviral properties that could kill viruses living in your mouth. If you don’t have mouthwash in stock, make your own by dissolving a teaspoon of salt in half a cup of warm water.
3. Avoid binging on sugary food
Limit sugary food and fruits to mealtimes, and choose sugar-free snacks like cheese, crackers, or vegetables. Having too much sugar makes you more prone to tooth decay. The last thing you want is for your tooth to wear down, and you would have to get a dental tooth cap procedure.
4. Reduce your stress levels
Managing the stress of working from home, cabin fever, and the constant news of the virus can be challenging, but doing so contributes to your overall dental health. If you’re not sure how you can de-stress, consider:
- Getting the required hours of sleep a day
- Taking up meditation
- Catching up with friends or family through video calls
5. Drink lots of water
Drinking water regularly keeps your mouth clean and hydrated. It also washes leftover food that attracts cavity-causing bacteria. Make sure to drink the required two liters of water per day.
6. Moderate drinking and smoking habits
Smoking and drinking contribute to the deterioration of your oral health. They also increase your chances of getting mouth cancer. Use this lockdown to lessen your alcohol consumption and smoking, or quit altogether.
7. Take care of your dental work
Whether you’re wearing braces or have dental crowns or fillings, take extra care of them. Avoid crunchy, hard, or sticky foods that could break braces or dislodge crowns or fillings. Although emergency treatments cannot be avoided, it’s best to minimize the chances of breaking your dental work.
8. Stock up on emergency treatment
If you do end up feeling pain in your teeth or gums, it’s best to have emergency medicine ready, like co-codamol and paracetamol. Stock up on a temporary dental filling kit, available in some pharmacies and supermarkets, so you can temporarily cement a loose crown or filling.
The coronavirus outbreak has limited us from accessing dental treatment, among many other essential activities. When you’re stuck at home, it pays to be proactive in your dental health and avoid accidents that would require you to go out and get emergency dental treatment.