Dental Care and COVID-19: Protecting Your Teeth and Health
Many people worry about their dental health during this time of COVID-19 and social distancing, from concerns over keeping dental appointments to questions about safe home hygiene. Here are some guidelines to follow.
Tip 1: Make Your Dental Appointments Wisely
Many leading health organizations (including the American Dental Association, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommend that dental patients delay any non-urgent care until social distancing advisories have ceased.
Non-urgent care includes wellness checkups, routine cleanings, and elective procedures such as bonding, veneers, and tooth whitening. Non-painful cavities, adjustment of braces, and other non-urgent issues can also wait.
Dental or oral emergencies always merit immediate treatment. If you suffer from an abscessed jaw, root canal infection, fractured tooth, sudden tooth loss, or acute oral injury, seek urgent dental care. Neglecting a serious dental problem may lead to tooth loss or systemic infections that damage major organs.
If you experience a dental emergency, resist the impulse to seek help at a hospital emergency room. The current situation has placed an enormous burden on hospital resources; additionally, emergency room personnel lack specialized dental training. Some dental offices remain open to treat dental emergencies.
Diagnostics or treatments for certain kinds of serious health conditions may call for one or more dental visits, irrespective of social distancing. Examples include a tissue biopsy for a suspected tumor and denture adjustments for patients undergoing radiation therapy. Keep any scheduled appointments associated with such issues.
Tip 2: Brush Up on Your Home Dental Hygiene Skills
When you cannot pursue your usual schedule of dental checkups and cleanings, the maintenance of properly-implemented daily dental hygiene practices becomes more crucial than ever. Take this opportunity to fine-tune your brushing, flossing, and other oral care techniques.
Follow the recommended schedule of brushing three times a day and flossing at least once a day. Spend at least two full minutes brushing all tooth surfaces with short, gentle strokes, holding the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Wait 30 minutes after consuming acidic substances before brushing.
Consider switching from a manual toothbrush to an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes remove plaque with optimal thoroughness and efficiency, which may make a pivotal difference in your oral health during this time. Change the heads on your electric toothbrush regularly, throwing away old, potentially contaminated heads immediately.
When you floss, curve the floss around the edge of each tooth and beneath the gum line. This motion enables the floss to remove biofilm from tooth surfaces while also removing trapped food particles. If you have difficulty using traditional floss, use flossing sticks or interdental picks.
If you choose to use mouthwash as an additional form of preventative care, choose products that do not contain alcohol or antibacterial agents such as triclosan. These products can reduce the beneficial bacteria in your oral cavity, which may, in turn, inhibit your immune system strength.
Tip 3: Keep Your Dental Gear in Its Own Separate Place
Saliva and other bodily fluids can transmit COVID-19. Keep each family member’s toothbrush and floss in separate designated locations. Never share toothbrushes, which can transfer not only viruses but also dangerous bacteria.
Apply this variation on social distancing not only to toothbrushes or floss but also to other items that you might commonly use in your dental routine. For instance, make sure that each individual uses a separate water cup when gargling or rinsing out toothpaste. Wash your hands frequently for additional safety.
Don’t let COVID-19 impact your dental health. Contact Crest Hill Family Dental to discuss any dental questions or concerns you may have, or to schedule an upcoming appointment if necessary.