Coronavirus: a word that is now widely used all over the world. Whether you turn on the news, flip through your phone, or call family or friends to catch up, it’s hard to escape the topic of the coronavirus and the impact it has had and continues to make on our lives. As the world continues to fight the spread of COVID-19, and care see for those who have been affected, we, as members of the global community, have been asked to remain indoors and practise social distancing when leaving the home for essential reasons. Public spaces have been closed, and non-essential businesses have been asked to temporarily close their doors to the public.
Unfortunately, this includes dental offices, which have closed their doors for all non-emergency dental procedures. Without easy access to dental professionals, many individuals are left wondering how they should care for their family’s dental health from the comfort of their home.
As important as it is to visit the dentist regularly for a professional examination and cleaning of your teeth and gums, it is equally important to maintain your oral health daily at home. Although proper oral hygiene might not be at the front of your mind at this time, it’s essential to ensure that you keep up with your oral hygiene during the pandemic because of the decreased accessibility of dental care. If you’re wondering how you can care for your teeth and keep them clean and healthy at home, we’re here to walk you through some simple tips to do just that.
1. Brush twice a day and floss regularly
Brushing: When you brush your teeth twice a day using fluoride-based toothpaste—ensuring that one of these times is before bed—you are cleaning the plaque off of the surface of your teeth so that it doesn’t harden to form tartar. Make sure you take your time, and brush your teeth slowly and gently using circular movements to thoroughly clean the surface of your teeth. Also, don’t neglect your tongue and brush it at least once a day.
Flossing: When you can’t see your dentist for regular check-ups, brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day will help decrease your chances of developing tooth decay or gum disease. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before flossing and avoid flossing in public, so you don’t spread your germs to others.
Mouthwash: You can also use a non-alcohol-based mouthwash at least twice a day to help reduce plaque build-up on your teeth, which could lead to inflammation of your gums.
2. Watch what you eat
What you eat not only affects your overall health, but it can greatly impact your oral health. If you’re a frequent snacker, now might be the time to cut back. There’s no denying that snacking can be a great way to tackle the boredom and the excessive time that comes with this self-quarantine, but it’s healthier to avoid frequent snacking.
When you consume foods or drinks that are high in sugars and starches, these components are converted into acid in your mouth, which targets and dissolves the enamel of your teeth. The more frequently we allow our teeth to be exposed to these harmful acids, the more they wear down, becoming weaker and softer.
In addition to sugary and starchy foods, you should also aim to avoid hard foods such as hard, sticky candy or peanut brittle, which could crack your teeth or damage a filling.
Consuming a healthy diet and avoiding processed foods is important not only during the COVID-19 pandemic but year-round to help protect your oral health and boost your overall health.
3. Start or maintain good habits
When it comes to your teeth, brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash is only a part of the whole picture. Maintaining good habits is important to keep your teeth safe from foreign substances.
Maintaining good hydration is an important part of your oral health, as it can help wash away food particles in your mouth post-meals. By consuming water after every meal, you can decrease the negative effects of sugary, sticky, and acidic foods on your mouth.
Unfortunately, the massive amount of news and information regarding COVID-19 that we are flooded with daily, whether true or not, can cause stress. In such uncertain times, many people may turn to unhealthy habits to help manage their stress, including smoking and drinking alcohol. However, these habits can be detrimental to your oral health and should be avoided as much as possible during the pandemic and on a regular basis.
When you smoke, the blood supply to your gums is inhibited, which facilitates bacterial growth and increases your risk of developing gum infections.
When you expose the cells in your cheeks and gums to high levels of alcohol, the cells can become dried out over time.
4. Use a clean toothbrush
The thought of the coronavirus within your home can be scary, but rather than panic and worry, you should take the appropriate steps to clean and sanitize your home. This should also include your toothbrush.
Your toothbrush should be replaced every three months; however, if you get sick, make sure you replace your toothbrush once you are feeling better.
5. Manage dental problems at home if possible
By staying at home as much as possible—except for essential tasks—we are helping to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Dental offices are no exception to this. In fact, dentists face a very high risk of contracting the coronavirus based on the nature of their job. This is why we limit visits to the dentist to emergency situations only.
If you do experience a dental problem, there are some simple home remedies you can use to help manage any pain, swelling, bleeding, or inflammation caused by any number of problems ranging from toothaches to gum disease. Of course, if the pain or bleeding is severe and continuous, it’s important to get professional help to avoid any permanent damage and other more extensive and costly treatments down the road.
If you’re faced with a dental emergency, Guelph Family Dentistry can help. We are open for emergency treatments; patients can contact us 24/7, and we will respond as soon as possible.
In these uncertain times, it’s normal to be feeling a myriad of emotions, but how we manage the situation and handle our emotional and physical health is key. There is not a lot that we can control during this unexpected pandemic, but one thing we can control is how we take care of our oral and overall health. As we remain in our homes to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, it’s important to adopt a strict routine of oral care to help your mouth maintain good health. Keep up with your twice-daily brushing and flossing routine, add rinses with mouthwash, and keep all of your oral cleaning tools sanitary. If you continue to strive to maintain your oral health, you will give your body the best chance to fight off any infections it may encounter.
At Guelph Family Dentistry, we understand that this may be a stressful time for you and your families. We are committed to helping you maintain your oral health from the comfort of your home. If you are experiencing a dental emergency, do not hesitate to give us a call at 888-588-1691 or visit our website here to learn more about what we can offer you.