This article is based on how one should maintain his/her oral health at home, during and post lockdown. Maintenance of hygiene is important to avoid cross infections.
Lockdown and Oral Health
Almost half a year into this lockdown, we know the history of origin and spread of the novel coronavirus. Most of us are very well aware of the precautions to be taken to prevent this infection during and post lockdown.
Every individual must follow the safety protocols. Most of them aren’t habitual of wearing masks. A face mask covers your mouth and nose. It can block the release of virus-filled droplets into the air when you cough or sneeze. This helps slow the spread of COVID-19. Initially it does get a little problematic breathing through nose, breathing through mouth which could lead to drying of mouth.
While following these protocols, at times we smell bad breath from our own mouth while wearing the mouth mask. And we realise something is not correct!
But do we all know how do we take care of our teeth and maintain oral health and hygiene at home?
Can You Visit Your Dentist in A Pandemic?
Most of us have been to the dentist atleast once in our lifetime and exactly know how the dental procedures are carried out. Most dental procedures require close contact with the patient’s oral cavity, saliva, blood and respiratory tract secretions. Hence, in this current pandemic, dentists, auxiliaries as well as patients are undergoing dental procedures are at high risk of cross-infection.
So it was decided that the dental clinics would remain closed in the containment zones. However, they would continue to provide help over the phone, text or video consultation. Emergency dental cases will be undertaken only after consultation, tele-triage, and consent, and through pre-fixed appointments only.
In the red zone area, patient can seek help from the ambulance services to travel to the nearest COVID-19 dental facility, while the dental clinics in orange/green zones will function to provide consults and every patient would be treated with utmost care and precaution following all the dental guidelines.
Top 10 Oral Health Care Tips At Home
Even during this outbreak, it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene habits. To help prevent dental problems from happening during and post lockdown, here are ten oral health care tips one can follow at home:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Use interdental brush or floss to clean in between the teeth.
- Use mouthwash and tongue cleaner daily to remove bad bacteria and keep your breath fresh.
- Rinse your mouth with water after every meal or drink to prevent accumulation of plaque.
- Cut down on excess sugar and the frequency of having it.
- Cut down excessive tea and coffee intake or adding artificial food colours in food as it stains your teeth.
- Maintain a proper nutritious diet.
- Keep yourself hydrated.
- Avoid any bad dental habit of chewing pen caps, biting nails, opening any bottle caps using teeth etc. You might invite problems for yourself and you might end up cracking your tooth.
- Sugar free chewing gum can help produce saliva which will avoid drying of mouth and neutralise the plaque acids in your mouth.
NOTE: Changing your tooth brush regularly also helps prevent the spread of bacteria. If you have had the coronavirus (or suspect that you may have) or are sick in general, throw your toothbrush away! As your tooth brush bristles will come in contact with the bacteria and virus from the saliva during infection. If you cannot find a replacement for it, make sure to disinfect it properly by soaking your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide for 3-5minutes. Another alternative is to soak your toothbrush in a glass of mouthwash for 10mins. This can be followed on regular basis too, even when not sick. Replace your toothbrush every 3 months and sooner if you fall ill.
‘You covering your mouth with a mask protects them, while them covering their mouth with a mask protects you.’
Stay safe, stay healthy!