You were probably already benefiting from your regular visits to the dental clinic for routine checkups, but then came the COVID-19 pandemic. At its peak, health authorities directed dental offices to limit their operations to emergency treatments only.
Such curtailing of oral health services led to minor dental issues turning into major ones. For instance, teeth with cavities that only required filling decayed further such that they now need root canals.
Because of that, you should be more vigilant when it comes to maintaining proper dental health as COVID-19 rages on. Here are five dental hygiene tips for you to keep in mind:
1. See Your Dentist
Now that many dental offices can accommodate more routine procedures, it’s in your best interest to make an urgent visit to your dentist. You never know the range of oral health issues you may have acquired during those extended periods of lockdown.
Your dentist can examine and advise you accordingly on the next steps to take. Make sure that the dental clinic you visit has put in place measures to contain the spread of the SARS-Cov-2 virus. You may want to check out excellent dental offices like Great Hill Dental in Peabody.
If possible, inquire whether the dental clinic offers teledentistry. This will allow you to regularly catch up with your dentist in the comfort of your own home and in turn reduce your chances of being infected by COVID-19.
2. Go To The Dentist Alone
This isn’t the time to have every member of your household tag along with you when visiting the dentist. It’s best to go alone given that COVID-19 can be transmitted through the transfer of oral droplets from one person to another. You can also get the coronavirus by touching surfaces that have deposits of such oral droplets.
Dental clinics are especially risky since oral checkups and treatments involve direct handling of oral fluids. As such, you’d want to protect your loved ones from contracting COVID-19 by not letting them accompany you. But if they absolutely must, let them wait for you outside the clinic or in the lobby until the end of your dental appointment.
3. Properly Clean Your Toothbrush
It’s difficult to determine whether the SARS-Cov-2 virus is present in your home until proper tests are done. So far, COVID-19 tests have been conducted on humans and animals, not on inanimate objects. As such, it pays to take precautions against possible contamination of your toothbrush with the novel coronavirus.
If your toothbrush comes into contact with the virus, you risk getting COVID-19 since the toothbrush goes right into your mouth. Therefore, disinfect your toothbrush daily and rinse it in a 0.5% hydrogen peroxide solution for about 15 minutes.
Also, consider replacing your toothbrush more regularly than the recommended three months interval to further reduce the risk of infection.
4. Do Not Forget The Basics Of Dental Hygiene
Given that the SARS-Cov-2 virus can spread through activities involving the mouth such as coughing and speaking, the importance of thorough daily oral care can’t be overemphasized. Here are things you should add to your dental care checklist:
- Brush your teeth at least two times a day.
- Spend at least two minutes brushing your teeth during each toothbrushing session.
- In addition to brushing your teeth, use dental floss and antiseptic mouthwash to get rid of stubborn food particles that may be stuck between your teeth.
- Ensure that the toothpaste you use is fluoridated to prevent tooth decay.
- Reduce or stop smoking and drinking alcohol. Such bad habits increase your risk of developing dental problems and gum infections.
- Avoid non-fiber carbohydrates, which encourage plaque buildup.
- Avoid excessive snacking no matter how much you get bored during the COVID-19 lockdowns and quarantines.
5. Practice Proper COVID-19 Hygiene
Stay safe from COVID-19 infections by adhering to the following guidelines:
- Don’t share your toothbrush with anyone, be it your spouse or children.
- Don’t store your toothbrush in the same holder that all other family members use. Isolate it, and see to it that everyone else in your home does the same.
- Dispose of your toothbrush and buy a new one once you recover from COVID-19.
- Place your toothbrush upright after use to allow it to dry properly.
- Don’t store your toothbrush and other dental care products near the toilet bowl and other toiletries. Fecal matter can harbor the virus. Flushing the toilet also generates droplets that may land on your toothbrush and cause you to get infected.
It’s possible to maintain good oral health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Put these tips into practice, and you’ll have one less thing to worry about amid the current global crisis.