The COVID-19 pandemic has had its effects on just about every aspect of people’s lives, including their jobs, homes and social lives. By far, the biggest impact has been on people’s health, including the desire to prevent themselves from falling ill in any shape or form. As a result, individuals are skipping out on dentist’s appointments, and, in doing so, maybe missing out on their dental hygiene. While safety is of utmost importance during a pandemic, keeping up a healthy mouth is also imperative to avoid bigger dental issues in the future, including the need for procedures like root canals, extractions, and in-depth exercises. Here are 7 dental hygiene tips to practice while living in the pandemic:
1. Don’t Skip Out on the Essentials
With many individuals forced to work from or home or quarantine, it can be easy to let slide the everyday routine that many held before the pandemic. The recommended dental routine includes brushing two times a day for two minutes using a fluoridated toothpaste, using mouthwash, and flossing daily. Not having to go out and interact with others can make it easy to skip out on this usual routine. But it’s important to continue doing this daily practice as it helps promote healthy gums and prevent tooth decay. It also assists in maintaining a healthy mouth, which is imperative for a viral disease such as COVID-19.
2. Keep Up A Healthy Diet
Another habit that many have taken while living in quarantine is to eat more unhealthy foods. It is tempting to snack while at home, or skip out on making healthy meals and eat whatever has been in the cupboard for so long. Good nutrition is as important for dental hygiene as well as it is for any other part of the body. A nutritious diet helps provide the teeth and gums with nutrients that help the mouth fight against the disease. On the contrary, eating sticky or hard foods like candy may work against this natural routine. Veggies, fish, and dairy such as cheese are all good for dental hygiene, promoting strong teeth and healthy gums.
3. Choose Water as a Beverage of Choice
Like eating unhealthy snacks, drinking unhealthy beverages like sugary juices or soda can affect dental health. Soda mixes with bacteria in the mouth and creates acid, which damages teeth and weakens tooth enamel, the teeth’s outer surface. Water is not only essential for keeping the body rehydrated and working well, but it also flushes out the mouth. It’s also recommended to rinse your mouth with water after eating to ensure there are no leftover pieces of food stuck between teeth that could cause further damage.
4. Replace Old Toothbrush
Toothbrushes are magnets for germs which can cause infection in the mouth. Additionally, the fungus can grow on the toothbrush, as well as bacteria. During the pandemic, individuals tend only to buy the essentials to limit their time spent in a store. Dentists encourage individuals to continue investing in new toothbrushes, suggesting changing them once every few months to ensure a clean brush every time. For a new brush, dentists recommend a brush with soft bristles that are easy on teeth and don’t damage tooth enamel or gums.
5. Avoid ‘Mask Mouth’
With wearing a mask now a requirement in many areas, more individuals are realizing that they may suffer from halitosis, commonly referred to as ‘bad breath.’ As many breathe through their mouths while wearing a mask, it’s easy to smell one’s breath, which, when not brushed, may have a strong, unpleasant odor, with the new phrase for this situation deemed ‘mask mouth.’ Now more than ever is the time to improve one’s breath. This can be done by brushing the tongue, keeping hydrated at all times, and using dry mouthwashes created just to resolve this issue. Moreover, avoiding particularly smelly foods can not only help with preventing bad breath but can help with maintaining proper nutrition.
6. Change Bad Habits
Many people are using the pandemic to quit bad habits that may affect their dental hygiene. The most common bad habit people have been breaking is ceasing tobacco use. Smoking leads to many health problems, including the potential for cancer, especially in the mouth. Furthermore, smoking can lead to tooth loss and halitosis, as mentioned above. In addition, many are choosing to lessen their alcohol intake, which also can have adverse effects on dental health. Alcohol can cause a dry mouth, limiting saliva and causing potential tooth decay. Going out for more exercise can act as the perfect replacement for partaking in these habits.
7. Continue Going to Dentist Appointments
Most importantly, if an individual is suffering from any dental issues or pain, it is still recommended to go see a dentist. Many dentist offices like Sierra Dental have reopened and are practicing COVID-19 safety procedures, including having dentists wear masks, practicing social distancing, and performing temperature checks upon arrival. By choosing not to see a dentist for any problems, dental issues can become much worse and require more intensive and expensive treatment. In lieu of regular dentist appointments, some officers are offering ‘teledentistry,’ or remote appointments via video conference to help answer patients’ questions, a good alternative to consider.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be easy to slip out of usual routines and settle into less healthy habits such as brushing teeth less, eating more unhealthy food, and choosing not to go see a dentist when an issue arises. As a result, bigger health issues can develop and cause even worsen health. Follow these dental hygiene tips mentioned above to promote good dental hygiene and health overall.