Dental care is especially important when regular dentist appointments are made difficult by an ongoing pandemic. Here’s what you can do at home.
Lockdown is easing in many states, and dental offices are reopening in hard hit areas. Yet the Centers for Disease Control still recommends following social distancing guidelines — including quarantining at home if you are in a vulnerable age group or suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
If you are delaying your regular visits to the dentist’s office in order to stay safe — or you are worried about proper social distancing at your dentist, it’s important to remember that your oral health is still a crucial component of your overall well-being. Dentists are available for emergencies, but you can also maintain good dental hygiene at home to prevent any serious oral issues.
Dental Care During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Good dental habits are essential — especially when routine dental appointments may be postponed or disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic. Stick to these eight tips to keep your teeth healthy:
- Brush Twice a Day. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day prevents plaque and bacterial buildup that erodes enamel, damages gums, and causes cavities. Make sure to use a toothpaste with fluoride. We recommend brushing at a 45-degree angle from the gumline, and try to clean the inside layer of your teeth. If you do use a mouthwash, wait 15 minutes before rinsing and buy a mouthwash that contains menthol, fluoride, peroxide and cetylpyridinium chloride.
- Floss Once a Day. As part of your regular oral care, floss between your teeth after meals, and at least once a day. Flossing removes the plaque your toothbrush cannot reach.
- Eat Healthy. Although it’s tempting to snack if you’re working from home, foods loaded with sugar and starch allow plaque-causing bacteria to grow and erode the hard enamel surface of the tooth. If you can, cut down on acidic drinks such as fruit juices, wine, and carbonated liquids. The acid in these drinks wears down the enamel. In their place, consume foods high in folic acid (beans, broccoli, and spinach) that can reduce gum inflammation.
- Drink Water. Along with a healthy diet, drink plenty of water. Water prevents bacteria and plaque from forming on your teeth and gums. This prevents tooth decay and gum disease.
- Soak Up Vitamin D. Even during the coronavirus pandemic, you should exercise outdoors if possible (while following social distancing guidelines). This helps maintain your overall health and deliver your daily dose of vitamin D for strong teeth and gums. You can also get vitamin D from foods such as tuna, salmon, egg yolks and cheese if spending time outdoors is not an option.
- Be Kind to Your Teeth. Don’t put objects in your mouth that could chip or crack a tooth. Use a scissor to open packages, not your teeth. In short, avoid any activity that could damage your teeth and require an emergency visit to the dentist.
- Stop Smoking. You know cigarettes are not only bad for your overall health, but particularly damaging to your teeth. The chemicals in cigarettes cause tartar buildup, which leads to gum disease. Smoking also reduces saliva production. Without saliva washing over teeth, bacteria grows on the gums and teeth.
- Take Care of Dental Emergencies. If you’re experiencing severe pain and bleeding in your mouth — or you have a cracked or chipped tooth —call your dentist. Even in areas still under lockdown, many dental offices remain open for emergencies. If you’re not experiencing any dental issues, you can always check in with your dentist for advice on how to care for your teeth while quarantining or social distancing.
Espire Dental is currently seeing patients. We are following strict safety protocols that include limiting the number of patients in the waiting area and disinfecting all surfaces. Read about our COVID-19 guidelines here. Please contact us for an appointment today.