The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 has forced many state and local governments to execute various stay at home orders in an attempt to slow the spread. Even the federal government has recommended that people maintain a minimum of six feet distance from one another and try to minimize the amount of time spent in public places.
Consequently, these social distancing practices have also spilled over into the dental world as well. On April 1st, 2020, the American Dental Association issued a formal recommendation urging all dentists to close their offices, unless there is an urgent or emergency situation. With the temporary suspension of elective and preventative dental services, it is important more now than ever to properly maintain your oral health.
During this time of uncertainty, the staff of Waco Dental want to make sure you and your family stay in good oral health. Therefore, we have compiled this brief guide on COVID-19 and your oral health.
Maintain Your Oral Health
The most important thing to do during this time is to simply maintain your oral health. This can be accomplished by keeping up with your daily dental routine. This routine should consist of brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day using a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste. It should also consist of flossing your teeth once a day to remove any plaque or food debris from between your teeth and along the gum line.
Another way you can maintain your oral health is to limit your sugar intake. Exposing your teeth to excess sugar can cause tooth decay to occur more rapidly, therefore limiting your sugar intake decreases the risk of tooth decay. To manage your sugar intake, you will need to limit sweets, carbohydrates, and soda consumption. Additionally, when you do have sugar, it is recommended to rinse your mouth with water or milk to minimize the damage to your teeth.
Prevent Dental Emergencies
In addition to maintaining your oral health, you will also want to prevent dental emergencies. The best way to do this is to only use your teeth for chewing and biting food. This means no nail biting, no ice chewing, no opening packages with your teeth, and no chewing on pens. All of these behaviors have the potential to fracture or chip a tooth.
However, you will also need to exercise caution with the foods you eat. For example, foods that are excessively hard, sticky, crunchy, or chewy can also cause damage to your teeth. Therefore, you may want to avoid these foods entirely or exercise caution when consuming them.
Follow Dentist’s Guidelines
If your dentist has prescribed anything to help your oral health, it is highly important that you continue these practices to the best of your ability during this time. For example, if you grind or clench your teeth and your dentist has prescribed a nightguard, be sure to wear your night guard as prescribed. If they have recommended additional brushing or mouthwash, be sure to continue these practices as well. This will help preserve your oral health and prevent it from deteriorating.
Overall, we hope these guidelines will help you and your family maintain your oral health during this temporary suspension of elective and preventative dental services. In the case that you are experiencing symptoms or a dental emergency, call your Waco dental office for an emergency dental appointment.
Dr. Martin is a highly skilled dentist of 16 years, and a graduate of Baylor College of Dentistry. During this time, he has placed over 500 implants and maintains his skills by taking more CE courses than required by the State Board each year.