With its devastating impact across the globe, Coronavirus pandemic has made us mindful of many hygiene practices and their role in reducing the chances of getting the deadly disease. While there is a lot of emphasis on hand hygiene, oral hygiene is no less importance as reducing the risk of infection in the oral cavity would prevent its transfer to the upper and lower respiratory tract, according to Asian Journal of Oral Health and Allied Sciences. There are scientific evidences that suggest optimal oral health status could minimize the incidence of hospital-acquired pneumonia. Brushing your teeth two times a day for two minutes, cleaning and disinfecting your toothbrush, replacing them after every few months, not sharing your toothbrushes are some of the tips you can follow for healthy teeth.
Oral Hygiene in Times of Corona
Apart from the many things that help in smooth functioning of immune system, your mouth can play an important role. It may serve as the first line of defence to the rest of your body. If your mouth isn’t healthy, your entire immune system may struggle to protect you.
Of late we have been hearing about many fungal diseases (Black Fungus, White Fungus, Yellow Fungus) on rise due to Coronavirus. Invariably patients who have been administered steroids, or hospitalised for a long time as diabetes are at risk of getting such diseases. By following good dental hygiene practices, the chances of catching viral and fungal infections including Black Fungus are reduced, according to dentists.
Dr Riddhi Katara, Celebrity Cosmetic Dentist, Founder Experteeth Dental Care, Mumbai gives tips to take care of teeth during pandemic
Stick To The Basics For Best Results
Never underestimate a good brushing and flossing schedule. It is important to adhere to a proper oral hygiene routine even while staying home. Brushing teeth at least two times a day, swishing the mouth with extra virgin coconut oil, and flossing at least once a day can be included in your daily routine. As for the right mouthwash, one should steer clear of alcohol-based mouth rinses. They have a tendency to reduce salivary flow, which may reduce clearance of bacteria and lead to bad breath. When brushing, be kind to your gums. One could even use an electric toothbrush.
Just like your skin or for that matter rest of the body, hydration is important for healthier teeth. Increased water consumption is great for both your skin as well as improved oral clearance. Plus, it balances the pH of your mouth and work to clear food and debris from sitting between your teeth.
If you’re snacking throughout the day at home, this is especially important. When we allow food and sugary drinks to spend a prolonged amount of time on our teeth, the bacteria breaks down tooth enamel, allowing cavities to form more rapidly. So remind yourself to keep having water at regular intervals.
Cover Your Toothbrush, Change It After Every Few Months
It is important to follow this rule now more than ever. Dentists have been stressing on the importance of not leaving your toothbrush exposed to the air. Covering your toothbrush is important to protect airborne bacteria from infecting your toothbrush. Also, while it is recommended to change your toothbrush every three months, you must change it immediately after contracting Covid-19.
Chew Slowly Mindfully For Preventing Tooth Injury
It is important not to rush eating, especially while eating hard foods. Many dental emergencies these days are the result of painful broken teeth. The easiest way to avoid this is to skip eating anything that’s difficult to chew or overly crunchy. Popcorns and gum are considered “risky” items, but one can slow down chewing for avoiding injury to the teeth. But if you happen to crack a tooth, contact your dentist to determine the course of action.
Clean Your Tongue
It’s not just your teeth and gums that need care. Your tongue also needs attention to remain healthy. Bacteria and plaque can accumulate on your tongue just as easily as your teeth. This leads to bad breath and other dental health problems. Gently brush your tongue and your teeth for best results at least once a day.
Relax and Keep Your Stress In Check
This is especially important in pandemic times as people are suffering from high levels of stress. Especially at night, some people clench their teeth because of which the jaws get affected. While a night guard may help in this regard while sleeping, during the day one could be more mindful of clenching. Here’s a simple mantra to check if your mouth is in a restful state - “Lips together, teeth apart!”
Suggestions To Improve Your Oral Hygiene
- Electric Tooth Brush
- Dental floss or even better is Water Flosser/Water Pik
- Extra virgin coconut oil mouthwash for Oil Pulling
- Tooth Brush Cover
- If you’re chewing a gum, use a sugar free chewing gum
There needs to be more awareness about oral hygiene in times of pandemic as oral cavity is one of the portal for virus’s entry into the human body, and one must do everything possible to avoid that. Besides, one would like to minimize the visit to dentist at this time so if dental emergencies can be reduced by being mindful of some risky habits, one must follow them. Eating foods that damage your teeth or stick to the teeth or gum should also be minimized.
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