Tips for maintaining oral health in COVID-19: As the world collectively emerges from a global crisis, there has been a never seen before emphasising taking care of our health and sparing the time to look after ourselves. Oral Health is a vital part of our fitness and lives. It makes sure we have a happy and hearty laugh, but it is also integral to our overall well-being. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), oral diseases affect close to 3.5 billion people worldwide every year. This is a massive number and indicates a lack of awareness of the consequences of neglecting regular oral hygiene practices. However, with the onslaught of COVID-19, there has been an increase in general awareness regarding disease prevention. More importantly, several studies have linked poor oral hygiene to heart diseases, diabetes, and other serious ailments that further reiterate the pivotal need for maintaining adequate oral care. Additionally, since COVID-19 is an unprecedented pandemic, the true extent of its damage is not known. Hence, it is essential to safeguard ourselves and take active steps toward dental care.
Recent Research By Journal of Clinical Periodontology
While we actively continue to respond to the pandemic, several insightful studies explore the side effects and high-risk conditions that can be proved fatal. A recent study conducted by the Journal of Clinical Periodontology dramatically emphasizes the need for optimal dental care during this sensitive time. The study notes that people suffering from gum disease are nine times more likely to die from COVID. Additionally. The research findings also point out that patients with gum disease were three and a half times more prone to be exposed to (ICU) intensive care units and four and a half times more likely to need a ventilator. This is a clear indicator of the vital need to maintain basic oral hygiene, at the very least, during this pandemic. Maintaining excellent oral health is critical for maintaining high-grade overall health. Proper oral hygiene aims to remove or prevent the formation and buildup of plaque and tartar, prevent periodontal disease and dental caries, and decrease halitosis incidence.
Causes of oral problems
Your mouth collects all sorts of bacteria, viruses and fungus and gives rise to many troubles. Apart from this, there could be various causes for problems related to dental health. Such as:
- The use of medicines reduces the amount of saliva in the mouth
- Continuous snacking on sugary foods and beverages
- Some infections, such as HIV or AIDS
- Hormonal changes in women
- Poor brushing habits
- Acid reflux
Symptoms of oral problems
Going to a dentist twice a year can usually save you from any dental problems. But there are some symptoms, which indicate the necessary discomfort from the teeth. Such as:
- Sores in the mouth after every one or two weeks
- Broken Teeth
- Breath odour
So, here are a few instructions one can follow to ensure our oral health is in check as we collectively fight against this disease:
- Regular check-ups are Important: It is essential to visit a dentist every six months, and while COVID and its resultant lockdown did understandably slow down dental visits for quite a while globally, there has never been a significant critical need to get a thorough checkup done from one’s local dentist. Early diagnosis often helps us avoid unnecessary pain and allows experts to act quickly to fight against any abnormalities. To live happy and healthy, one must count on the body's functioning by routine wellness checkups. This helps diagnose diseases and evaluate risk factors at an advanced stage, which will result in better management and efficient treatment of the condition.
- Always stay hydrated: Hydration is critical in keeping your saliva active in keeping oral tissues moist and healthy. Also, avoid snacking throughout the day because this can disrupt saliva levels in the mouth, thereby affecting the tissues' health. Stay hydrated regularly during the day. Eat water-rich foods or drink fluids. A healthy person needs thirty to fifty ounces of liquid per day. Drinking liquids is essential to stay fit and to maintain the function of every system in your body, including your muscles, heart and brain.
- High-risk patients need to take extra care: High-risk patients, who are more vulnerable, need to take utmost care of their oral health during this time if they feel they would expose themselves when visiting a dentist. Do not sleep or go to bed without brushing your teeth properly. Use fluoride toothpaste and consider mouthwash without neglecting your tongue. Do not let flossing difficulties stop you. Treat it as necessary as cleaning your teeth.
- Higher emphasis on oral health amidst irregular visits: If one is in a highly prone area, and stringent lockdown measures are being implemented, and it is upon us to make sure we are taking optimal care of our mouth in the absence of the dentist’s medical guidance. Flossing every night and brushing twice a day are some essential tips to follow without fail to look after one’s oral health and avoid unwanted emergencies.
- Use a straw when consuming fizzy drinks or beverages: Use a straw to avoid direct contact with teeth because that can lead to acid wear and sensitivity. Sipping through a straw can add to lip bloating, wrinkles, teeth staining and cavities. If you must sip through a straw, consider utilising a reusable straw to decrease chemical consumption. The disposal and production of plastic straws add to environmental contamination.
- Always ask for prescription tubes of toothpaste, mouth rinses and other products: Dentists will prescribe prescription fluoride toothpaste to help their sufferers avoid decays and cavities. ORAL RINSE (BENZYDAMINE) Please Note the USES: This medicine relieves inflammation and pain connected with mouth sores or a sore throat caused by radiation therapy.
- Caution is critical: The timeless anecdote ‘prevention is better than cure’ holds more than ever, whilst in the middle of a pandemic. It is important to exercise all precautions such as looking for any active signs of inflammation or bad breath and self-examine if possible and look for the first signs of trouble and seek medical help immediately.
- Proper Brushing Technique: Tilt the brush at an angle opposite the gumline and turn the brush away from the gumline. Using the strokes slowly and back and forth, brush the outer, inside, and chewing surface of each tooth forty-five-degree. Brush your tongue gently to remove bacteria and keep the breath fresh.
- Floss Once Every Day And Brush Your Teeth Two Times Per Day: The conventional testimonial for oral healthcare is no less relevant now than it was before this disaster. Please be sure to floss between the teeth at least once each day and brush your teeth a minimum of twice each day.
The good news is, the path to dental hygiene is often painless and simple, yet enormously influential. Proactively looking after your well-being is in one’s own hands and always proves to be fruitful, especially with a trained professional's assistance by one’s side. As a dentist, Dr Namrata Rupani says that having a trustworthy dentist to help guide and encourage you and your family about health is essential. Be sure to choose a doctor you are comfortable talking to — it will make a world of difference!
(Inputs By Dr Namrata Rupani, BDS, Cosmetic/Aesthetic Dentist, Founder Capture Life)
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