As we weather the shock and disruption to normal life of the Coronavirus outbreak, we all have to focus on our well-being and the well-being of others by practicing proper social distancing. In response, and in accordance with ADA (American Dental Association) and CDA (Colorado Dental Association) guidelines, we've closed our offices until at least April 14th. The safety of our patients, staff and community is at the forefront of our minds during this difficult time. During this closure, it is more important than ever to maintain if not strengthen our general hygiene habits. The same goes for oral hygiene. In response we've assembled a quick guide to oral care during COVID-19.
As we examined in our last post Oral Hygiene Basics, proper oral hygiene is critical to maintaining a healthy immune system. While it's far too early to speculate on any connection between poor oral hygiene and increased Coronavirus infection risk, this is certainly not the time to take chances. In addition, maintaining proper oral health now will protect you from serious conditions down the line like Periodontal disease and even heart disease. While we are all experiencing added stress from this pandemic, we encourage everyone to keep up with proper oral care habits. This is not the time to fall out of critical care habits, even if we are all stuck and home and distracted by bigger issues.
In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, there is no secret solution for better oral health. Instead the same old values and habits apply now. Brush twice daily with an ADA-approved, fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day with quality, string-style floss. Make sure you gently brush all areas of your mouth including your gums and tongue. Remember brushing harder does not mean your teeth will get cleaner. If anything, brushing too hard can cause damage to your gums and teeth. As far as flossing is concerned, take your time and make sure you floss between each and every area. Wind the floss around your fingers and make a “C” shape as you apply gentle pressure and pull the floss upward. Use a fresh section of floss for each area. This will ensure you don't push bacteria or food particles from the last area back down into your teeth.
In light of the added stress and more time than usual at home, it's easy to develop bad habits when it comes to your diet and oral health. Keep cavities and larger issues at bay by consuming coffee and sugary beverages in moderation. While many of us are more inclined to have a drink at home now, do so in moderation and remember beverages like wine are rich in acids that can damage your teeth. Don't forget about the kids as well. Ensure their next checkup is sterling by limiting sugary foods and beverages.
Another factor we'd like to acknowledge is access to regular dental supplies like toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss. If you're limiting trips to the store (which you should at this point), now is a great time to take stock of your current supply. If you're set to run out of toothpaste in the next week or so, you could order some online and cross one more worry off your to-do list. As for those who can't make it to the store like the elderly, offer to drop off supplies at their door with no contact. In a crisis like this, many of us are prone to think about items like food and toilet paper but forget things like toothpaste. So if an older relative is due for some supplies, ask about dental items before you go to the store.
Although routine dental checkups have been suspended for now, you should not forego emergency dental treatment if you need it. Emergency dental clinics are allowed to stay open, but you should never assume so until you call. Describe your emergency to them and ask for additional instructions. If your dental emergency occurs after hours, urgent care clinics are a good alternative. Conditions that may require emergency treatment include knocked out or chipped teeth, loose or separated crowns and veneers, severe toothaches and any other trauma sustained to the teeth. Please do not view the COVID-19 outbreak as a reason to skip emergency treatment. The faster you act, the better your potential outcome. (Learn more in our article Dental Emergencies – What To Do).
We look forward to a time when we can provide premier dental care for your whole family, and that day is coming soon. In the meantime, we encourage you to take oral care during COVID-19 seriously. Keep up with your regular brushing and flossing habits and make sure your loved-ones are doing the same. Once social distancing measures are relaxed, we encourage you to contact us to schedule your next appointment. Stay safe everyone!