COVID-19 has led to a lot of shutdowns, and that includes dental offices. For a lot of people, the option to go to the dentist for a regular checkup or cleaning is off-limits, and they might only be able to see their dentist for emergency treatments.
If you’re in an area where you don’t have full access to professional dental care because of the coronavirus outbreak, what can you do to maintain your oral health as best as possible until things open up again?
It’s All About What You Can Do Every Day Right at Home
This isn’t the time to slack off when it comes to your at-home oral hygiene routine. If you haven’t been brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time, and flossing at least once a day, it’s best to implement this strategy into your daily life now.
- Brush when you wake up in the morning, and again before going to sleep at night. If necessary, you can even brush your teeth after meals throughout the day to remove food particles and freshen breath.
- Experts recommend using toothpaste that contains fluoride to help protect your teeth from decay. And using an electric toothbrush might help you clean your teeth, gums, and tongue (yes, it’s recommended that you brush your tongue too!) more effectively as well.
- If you’re concerned about bacteria on your toothbrush, you can disinfect it easily on a regular basis.
- To clean between your chompers, flossing is a must. Do it at least once a day, or you can do it every time you brush. This simple task takes just a couple of minutes, but it’s a smart step towards reducing the risk of cavities.
- You can select the flosser that you like most, whether that’s string floss or a Waterpik. The key is to floss consistently so bacteria and plaque aren’t able to accumulate and cause damage in between the teeth.
Other things to consider when taking steps to care for your teeth at home:
- What you eat can have an impact on the health of your teeth and gums, so focus on consuming plenty of nutritious, natural foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, while reducing your intake of high-sugar foods and drinks.
- Mouthwash may be optional, unless your dentist has told you that it should be a part of your daily hygiene plan. There are different types of mouthwashes, so select the one that meets your needs best.
Contact Your Dentist’s Office If You Start Experiencing Symptoms
If you start to notice signs that something is wrong (e.g. your gums are swollen or bleeding, or you have a toothache), don’t wait to contact your dentist’s office. They might be open for emergency treatments, so there’s no need to ignore the symptoms or force yourself to deal with any discomfort.
Remember: getting treatment sooner rather than later can help ensure oral health problems won’t progress and cause extensive damage. While you might not be able to see your dentist for routine care, he or she might advise you to make an appointment if you’re experiencing symptoms of gum disease or tooth decay.
What Are Dentists Doing to Ensure Their Patients’ Safety?
Dental professionals might follow guidelines set forth by organizations like the ADA and CDC in order to open their offices to patients in a safe manner.
You may notice that your dentist takes extra steps to help keep patients, as well as staff, safe. Those steps might include:
Implementing extra disinfection of tools and surfaces
- Requiring that you arrive alone and wait to be called in from the parking lot
- Utilizing protective gear and requiring that you wear a mask
- Checking your temperature upon arrival
- Using a rubber dental dam to cover your mouth
- Requiring social distancing
- Asking you additional questions about your health and any symptoms you’ve been experiencing
- Removing things like magazines from the waiting room
Your Oral Health Doesn’t Have to Suffer Because of COVID-19 Restrictions!
It’s more important than ever to take great care of your mouth at home, but even if your dentist is taking fewer appointments than usual or only working with patients who need urgent care, don’t hesitate to call for advice if you start to feel symptoms of a cavity or gum problems.
Also, with the right dental insurance to provide coverage during this difficult time when you might not be working and earning as much, you’ll be able to rest assured you won’t break the bank to get the care you need.
Have no fear: until things go back to normal, your dentist will still be there to ensure you can keep your smile healthy and bright.