With routine dentistry currently being restricted due to COVID-19, looking after your dental health has never been more important.
It’s time to really Ramp up your at home dental care so you can avoid dental issues whilst restrictions are in place.
Viruses are also easily transmitted via the mouth, so even more the reason to keep your mouth in tip top condition.
Here are 8 tips to start implementing straight away
1. Mechanical cleaning:
- You’ve probably heard this one, brush your teeth twice a day! Physically cleaning your teeth in the morning and before bed means you are scrubbing away plaque and food which are filled with microorganisms (fancy word for many different bugs – yes there are many, bacteria, fungi, viruses and more!) which, if left alone can cause problems like tooth decay and gum disease.
- Using a soft bristled brush is also important because it won’t wear away your teeth as much as a medium or hard brush, which could cause sensitivity and sore teeth. Use a toothpaste which has both fluoride and triclosan in it (eg. Colgate Total). These two ingredients are both powerful and an even important combination to be using right now as fluoride will strengthen your teeth against decay and triclosan, which is an antimicrobial agent will fight off bad bugs in the mouth.
- Get in between your teeth too! Cleaning in between your teeth by using either string floss or pixters will help remove plaque and bad bugs in between your teeth which brushing alone can’t reach. So, don’t skip this step. This will help reduce gum bleeding and prevent pain from gum infection from happening. You may get initial bleeding if you haven’t flossed in a while, but don’t worry, keep flossing and at some point it will reduce and stop bleeding. Do be sure to book in for a professional dental clean once this is over too so we can remove tartar and plaque in places you normally can’t reach.
- Tongue scraping, used in conjuction with the above methods is an also an effective way of removing the white stuff of your tongue (the coating) which is filled with bad bugs in the mouth. This will overall contribute to a healthier mouth.
- Use a mouthwash which contains fluoride, cetylpyridinium chloride and is alcohol-free (such as Oral B Pro health mouthwash), as these will strengthen your teeth and help fight off bad bugs!
- I think your guessing the name of the game here: fight off bad bugs and help strengthen the teeth! As mentioned, fluoride is a powerful ingredient which can help prevent the start of new decay turning into large holes.
- Cetylpyridinium chloride is an antiseptic which can kill bad bugs and contribute to a healthier mouth. However, if you have been told you have gum disease by your dentist, then using a chlorhexidine mouth rinse is best for you (use only as directed by your dentist).
3. Avoid snacking often:
- Frequent snacking means your teeth are getting frequent acid-attacks, which combined with bag bugs and over time, will turn into new holes. So instead of snacking often, try eating 3 – 4 larger meals instead if you can.
- If you do snack often, rinse your mouth out with tap water straight after to avoid food sticking to your teeth.
- Reduce your overall intake of sugary snacks and fizzy drinks during this time, but if you do have them, limit them to meal times only.
4. Chew sugar-free gum:
- This is great to do after meals and sugary treats as it will stop food from sticking to your teeth and help increase the saliva in your mouth which will help neutralise the acid-attacks following from eating. Just don’t chew for longer than 20 mins, otherwise you’ll get a sore jaw!
5. Drink tap water:
- Drinking tap water instead of bottled water is beneficial so you can get extra fluoride onto your teeth.
- Tank water (i.e rain water), unfortunately lacks fluoride, which means your teeth aren’t getting the protection that they need, particularly during this time.
- If you are restricted to only tank water, it’s worth using more toothpaste when brushing and using a high fluoride mouth rinse so you get the benefit of fluoride from those means.
6. Avoid putting fingers in your mouth:
- Whether that’s nail biting or touching a filling that just feels rough, now is probably a good time to just simply avoid touching it.
Fiddling around too much can not only be a problem by transmitting viruses to and fro, but it can also start to propagate problems in the teeth which can be difficult to fix at this point in time due to the COVID-19 dental restrictions in place.
- Do make a note of them and be sure you ask your dentist when routine dentistry is back up and running.
7. Avoid chomping on hard stuff:
- If you have lots of large fillings or dental work in your mouth, try to avoid hard foods such as things like nuts, mentos lollies and pork cracklings. These types of foods are notorious at breaking fillings and teeth, which can be tricky to get fixed at this point in time, so be careful!
8. Protect your teeth by using night guard:
- This will protect large dental work and grinding/ chipping of your teeth. This can be a stressful time for many where night time teeth grinding can follow. So be sure to use your night guard if you have one, to protect your teeth at night.
- If you have retainers from braces or invisalign, you can wear those as most retainers will be strong enough to wear every night and help keep your teeth in place.
Last but not least, do make sure to book in for your dental check-up as soon as this is all over. We can get ahead of any dental problems or anything that’s been brewing over this time!
If you do happen to get yourself into a pickle in the meantime – you can give us a call on (03) 9438 2883. We’ll be here to help!