In many states, dental offices continue to stay closed and elective appointments/procedures are postponed until further notice. There are several things you can do at home to support your oral health until you are able to see your dentist again.
1. Brush, Brush, Brush: Of course the number one thing you can do to maintain your oral health is brush your teeth ‘properly’. You should be brushing for at least 3 minutes every morning and evening. Dentists suggest a soft/medium bristle tooth brush with a flexible hand. When brushing, brush in a gentle, upward to downward motion for your upper teeth and the opposite for your bottom teeth. Electric toothbrushes are also a great way to ensure you are brushing properly. Make sure to rinse your toothbrush well before and after brushing. (Replace every 3 to 4 months and possibly sooner for children.) Dentists suggest a cream toothpaste over gel since it is less abrasive. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, as it harbors bacteria. (Avoid stainless steal tongue cleaners as they can damage your taste buds.) *Keep your toothbrush at least 6 feet away from toilet to avoid bacteria transfer.
2. Avoid mouthwash unless your doctor suggests or prescribes it. They can cause chemical burns.
3. Floss, Floss, Floss: Use dental floss and interdental toothbrushes to properly floss your teeth. They even make special floss for people with tiny or tight teeth. Avoid using other objects to floss such as toothpicks, finger nails, straws, etc.
4. Contact your doctor if you have signs of an infection, toothache, ulcer, swelling or bleeding gums. Stress can lead to grinding (and jaw pain), ulcers, dry mouth etc.
5. Clean removable dental appliances with the proper cleaning tabs or solutions. Ensure they are disinfected daily.
6. Take Care of Yourself: Oral health is correlated with overall health. Ensure you are eating a well-balanced diet, getting the appropriate amount of sleep, avoiding sugary foods and drinks, limit alcohol consumption and exercise. Try to do something active every day! This will help your overall health, in turn your oral health and of course your stress level during this difficult time.
1. Dr. Manikandan G.R. “10 Tips For Oral Care During Lockdown”. The Week. April 17, 2020. Available on May 7, 2020. Online: https://www.theweek.in/leisure/lifestyle/2020/04/17/10-tips-oral-care-during-lockdown.html
2. Stone, Brenna. “Keeping Your Teeth Healthy With Five Simple Essentials”. Colgate. Available on May 7, 2020. Online: https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/adult-oral-care/keeping-your-teeth-healthy-with-five-simple-essentials-0513