How do you look after your teeth and gums during lock-down?
Can’t go to the dentist, haven’t been in a while or just don’t want to visit at the moment?
Welcome to 2020 and the new normal. Going to the dentist is routine for many people, but recently almost all of our routines are out the window.
But your teeth and gums are very important for your day to day activities and your overall health.
So what can you do to look after your teeth and gums until you see the dentist again?
Number one is oral hygiene. Use a decent soft headed manual or electric toothbrush and give your pearly whites a brush two times a day. Make sure you don’t scrub the hell out of them and damage your teeth or gums. It’s a gentle motion designed to remove plaque (which is like soft bread). Make sure you brush the edge of the gums so plaque doesn’t get stuck in the small pockets everyone has.
Floss your teeth every day. Tooth brushing can’t reach all areas and keeping the gums plaque free by flossing is an excellent way to stave off tooth decay and gum problems.
Use a good toothpaste, preferably one with some fluoride in it. The fluoride in the toothpaste combined with the calcium of your saliva will remineralise areas that are at risk of tooth decay.
Do you get a lot of staining on the teeth or calculus build up? Often this is a sign that your mouth is too dry and you need to drink a lot more water to build up the saliva. Saliva is more like oil than water and makes your teeth nice and slippery so you don’t accidentally bite yourself (teeth are super sharp) and so food and stains don’t stick. A dry mouth can also lead to bad breath so get hydrating.
Clean your tongue. If you notice that it is stained, this needs to be cleaned off, as often it’s a buildup of bacteria. It takes about 7-10 days before it gets real clean. A buildup on the tongue can also lead to bad breathe so get cleaning.
You only need a mouthwash if your dental professional has advised you it would be useful. It can also help in the short term if you have some gum infections (mouthwashes that have chlorhexidine can be useful).
Watch the sugar and acid in the diet. Already I am reading online that people’s diets are significantly changing during Covid and working from home. Sugar is not good for the teeth as it feeds the bacteria that causes tooth decay. Less sugar, less chance of a hole in your tooth.
Also teeth aren’t fond of acid. So cut back on acidic drinks like soft drink and be careful around juices and acidic foods. If you do eat/drink something acidic, try and water it down with a glass of water straight afterwards and avoid cleaning your teeth for about 30 minutes whilst your saliva neutralises the acids and remineralises the teeth.
If you break a tooth, have dental pain or get a swelling, then give your dentist a call. At Nova dental and Maven dental you can either visit or arrange a Telehealth appointment. Dentistry does have varying ranges in restrictions of treatment during different stages of lock down and your dentist will be able to advise very quickly what can be done to help you.
Be kind to yourself during this time, you probably already have a lot on your mind. Give yourself a couple of minutes every day and think brush, floss, hydrate and good diet and hopefully when we see you again we can get your mouth into top shape pretty quickly.
All the best, be kind and stay safe.