Believe it or not, these tough times will pass. The world is currently trying to survive and sustain, and all we need is a little resilience and caution. Understanding the needs of our patients who have been trying to survive this pandemic bravely, we have compiled a list of dental hygiene facts. Here’s a quick snapshot of what you should do from our dentists at Des Moines.
One of the most important things to remember, especially during this difficult time, is that practicing good hygiene doesn’t just protect you, it also protects those around you, including your loved ones. Check our dental hygiene tips to protect your teeth and gums and keep the virus at bay.
Fact #1: Look at the bigger picture
Just because you are under lockdown doesn’t mean that you should stop taking care of your teeth and gums. You can’t compromise on good dental hygiene. Regular brushing and flossing are a must. Think about your diet and include as much nutritious food as possible.
Tooth problems can lead to heart disease, diabetes, systemic infections, and other life-threatening diseases. Taking care of your oral health is one of the easiest ways to beat these problems.
Fact #2: Wash your hands before you brush or floss
As we look at our list of dental hygiene tips, we find this to be the most crucial one right now. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended washing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds. As flossing requires reaching your mouth inside out, it is imperative that you wash your hands as directed before you brush or floss.
Fact #3: Never contaminate your toothbrush
Did you know that an unclean toothbrush can be fatal during this pandemic? And this brings us to #Fact 4 in our dental hygiene facts sheet. Squeeze your toothpaste on a Q-tip or wax paper and then put it on bristles. If you’re sharing the toothpaste tube with other family members, never touch the brush with the tip of the tube.
Fact #4: Don’t share your toothbrush
Sharing toothbrushes is one action which was prohibited before and prohibited now as well. Among the many oral health care tips, this guideline, if not followed, has the most potential to be fatal. Sharing a toothbrush brings you closer to disease than you think. It’s one of the easiest ways in which viruses and blood-borne diseases can infect others. If your toothbrushes are kept in some covered box, make sure that the heads don’t touch each other.
Fact #5: Color-code your toothbrushes to avoid confusion
To add to our #4 oral care tip, we suggest that you use a color code for your toothbrushes. It’s easier for older family members to distinguish between the toothbrushes, but younger children can often get confused and use the wrong brush by mistake. To avoid that, you can use a color code for your toothbrushes.
Fact #6: Keep your toothbrush clean
Every time you use your toothbrush, don’t forget to clean its handle with a safe household disinfectant. As per the CDC, you can use alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol in it for wiping the handle clean. A diluted bleach solution or most commonly-used EPA-registered household disinfectants can be used for cleaning your toothbrush.
As per the National Institutes of Health, the Coronavirus can stay active on plastic surfaces like that of a toothbrush for 2-3 days even when it’s rinsed with water. So, wiping it clean with a disinfectant is a must.
Fact #7: Frequently change your toothbrush
We repeat that just because you’re under lockdown, it doesn’t mean that you should give up on good habits. That’s why our Number 6 in our dental hygiene facts sheet is a gentle reminder that you must change your toothbrushes about every 3 months. But, if possible, you should do it every 2 months during this time.
When you change your brush as often as you’re supposed to, you’ll prevent the spread of bacteria. Anyone who’s suspicious of being infected by Coronavirus should immediately change their brush. Even with the common flu, it’s advisable to get a new brush head. When you’re sick, and even when you’re not, your toothbrush needs to practice some social distancing – keep it away from the other toothbrushes.
Fact #8: Clean the bathroom every day
Our tips on good dental hygiene cannot be complete without some cleaning measures. We store our towels, razors, toothbrushes, and other hygiene-related things mostly in our bathrooms. It’s important that you keep bathroom surfaces clean with a bleach-based cleaning product. Make it a habit to clean the surfaces daily with a disinfectant.
Fact #9: Stick to a basic dental routine
We want to remind our patients that sticking to a basic dental routine will help you to combat many problems. You may not have the option of visiting us right now, so keep on doing what you do every day.
- Brush your teeth twice daily (day and night) preferably with a fluoride toothpaste
- Cut down on sugary foods and drink lots of water
- Use inter-dental flosses to clean between your teeth; use a mouthwash if required
Fact #10: Make an appointment only if you have a dental emergency
If you are not facing any dental emergency, you need to reschedule your appointment with us. Those who are not sure that what should count as a dental emergency, please call our office. For the circumstances below, it’s advisable to reschedule your appointment.
- Tooth whitening
- Regular routine visits for cleanings, x-rays, and exams
- Removal of teeth
- Visit for braces
- Treatment of cavities.
If you’re facing the problems below, you can call us and we’ll guide you.
- Knocked out or broken tooth
- Bleeding that won’t stop
- Pain in teeth or jawbone
- Painful swelling in and around the mouth
- Post-surgery care
- Biopsy of abnormal tissue
- Adjusting wire of braces which can hurt gums or cheek
Only emergency dentists at Urbandale will be performing some of our essential services right now. We can also give you guidance as part of the emergency dental care program at Des Moines. Call us if you require any assistance, but don’t forget to follow these teeth care tips till the time we meet again.