Over the last few weeks, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live our lives. Our social interactions are limited; the working day is different, as is the family dynamics at home.
The situation changes daily and speculation about relaxing isolation and social distancing seems all but a stab in the dark. Of course, at present, there is no alternative.
Without a doubt by now, you’re probably tired of reading about Covid19. It has saturated every news outlet, every post in your newsfeed and every dinner conversation; but even so, you still have questions.
As our country starts taking greater steps toward quarantine and self-isolation during this time to try to minimize the spread of the virus, there are some important measures to think about when it comes to your dental health. Oral health has a great impact on our general health, and vice versa, so caring for both during this crisis is critical. There are established scientific evidence that the immune response in your body is closely related to the health of your gums.
During a pandemic, the goal is to optimize your immune system. A healthy mouth frees the body’s immune system to fight off other intruders.
Generally speaking, dentists’ advice is to maintain a daily routine of brushing teeth and flossing to prevent tooth decay. The main objective is very simple: Plaque control. Rinsing with a non-alcohol-based mouthwash twice a day also can help reduce plaque buildup leading to inflammation of the gums (gingivitis).
Following measures are recommended:
- Keep the toothbrush safe: A toothbrush is personal property and should be kept exclusive otherwise it can be a way one can catch viruses and blood-borne diseases from other people. For the same reason, you should make sure that toothbrush heads are also kept apart and stored separately.
Clean between your teeth every day with interdental brushes or floss. Flossing the teeth is as important as brushing as 40 percent of the tooth surface is hidden between the tooth contacts. Make sure that you follow the proper flossing technique.
Change your toothbrush regularly: It’s important to change your toothbrush, or brush head, at least every three months. Perhaps even earlier if the bristles become frayed. This helps to ensure you are brushing your teeth effectively. A worn brush can’t do the job it needs to.
Healthy diet matters: During the lockdown, boredom, and this stressful time, we are quite likely to adopt unhealthy eating habits. It’s recommended to avoid excessive snacking; especially sugary foods or drinks that lead to acid in our mouths, which dissolves tooth surfaces. The more often our teeth are bathed in these acids, the weaker and softer they become.
Overindulging in smoking and drinking: can be detrimental to oral health. Smoking inhibits the blood supply to your gums and increases your risk for gum infections. High exposure to alcohol can dry out the cells in your cheeks and gums. Instead of drinking plenty of water as good hydration is important for oral health.
Clean your bathroom regularly: Our bathrooms are the place where many of us store our toothbrushes, towels, flannels, and other intimate items. It’s also the place we go in order to get clean. So, for obvious reasons, it’s important that the surfaces in your bathroom generally are cleaned regularly using a bleach-based cleaning product. In addition to that, close the toilet lid before you flush as fecal matter has been shown to contain coronavirus. Every time we flush the toilet, we generate an aerosol spray which can reach to brushes and other toiletries that are mere inches away from commodes.
Dental care for emergencies only:
As Covid-19 spreads across the world, dental clinics are suggested to restrict their operations to emergency procedures only. Dentists have been prohibited from providing non-emergency services, including aesthetic work, exams, cleanings, and fillings.
This accomplishes three very important things. It preserves the nationwide supply of personal protective equipment for our front-line heroes, prevents the spread of this virus through congregating in dental offices, and eliminates the need for dental emergency patients from flooding into emergency rooms that are better used for fighting the virus. Many dentists have turned to telemedicine to counsel patients by phone or video conferencing.
Unless you are in extreme pain or have swelling, try first to telecommunicate with your dentist, as he or she may be able to give you a prescription or refer you to the appropriate provider.
In closing, I send a special thanks to those health care workers who are on the front lines and ensuring our patients have access to the care they need and deserve. Please join me in thanking the health care providers and other essential civil servants in your life! We are going through challenging times, but I am confident we will rise to the occasion again. “Stay at Home” and take care of your oral health.