- What does the pandemic have to do with my oral health?
- My teeth are the last thing I need to worry about during these tough times.
- I don't have time to think about my oral health when there are other things that need my attention.
These are some of the most common excuses people may give if you talk to them about dental care in this situation. Unfortunately, dental issues do not get better on their own. A cavity or pain that seems insignificant can fester and worsen before you know it. Why take such risks when daily dental care can keep your oral health intact during the pandemic?
Why Is Dental Care Important During The Pandemic?
Visiting a dental clinic was a normal, everyday event during the pre-Covid era. But, not anymore. Since the risks are multifold, maintaining oral health during the pandemic matters for reasons beyond avoiding discomfort and pain.
Dental experts warn that poor oral hygiene has profound implications on your overall health because it is intrinsically associated with:
- Pregnancy complications like premature birth and pre-eclampsia
- Bacterial infections that can lead to cardiac issues
- Coronary heart diseases that occur due to prolonged dental issues
- Diabetes where periodontitis contributes to irregular blood-sugar levels
With the pandemic raging on, SARS-CoV-2 is under the spotlight while other pathogens have taken a backseat. Maintaining good oral health is more important than ever since the virus is known to colonise in the mouth. Corroborating these facts is research published by the Journal of Oral Medicine and Dental Research. The study reveals two facts:
- The prevalence of gum diseases allows the SARS-CoV-2 virus to pass from the saliva to the lungs through the bloodstream.
- Dental plaque and periodontal inflammation increase the risk of the virus entering the lungs, leading to severe SARS-CoV-2 infection
This discovery is significant since it makes dental care an effective, life-saving measure against Covid19. The primary goal is to prevent plaque accumulation that may cause gum disease. Besides, you need to follow extra measures to maintain oral hygiene during the pandemic, as suggested by expert dentists in Medavakkam.
Beyond your everyday brushing and flossing, you must:
- Use fluoridated toothpaste and an antiseptic mouth wash every day
- Wash your hands with a good antiseptic soap before brushing
- Disinfect your toothbrush and keep it covered after use
- Use antibacterial mouthwash to ward off infections like thrush
- Use video consultations to seek timely dental advice
- Avoid ignoring oral health issues no matter how small they are
So, how can you ensure your dental health is maintained during lockdowns if it is so important? Home isolation is already impacting mental and physical health. You wouldn't want it to affect your oral health as well. You can follow these simple steps while you are holed up at home.
Also Read: Understanding Periodontitis & Gingivitis in Detail
Precautionary Measures To Protect Your Dental Health
Make water the beverage of choice instead of hoarding up on fizzy drinks, coffee, tea, and sugary juices. Let's say you kill time watching movies and guzzling sodas. Your movie count and soda intake would've crossed dozens by the end of the lockdown. This soda intake will increase your blood sugar and your risk of tooth decay.
- Practice sensible eating habits
Are you trying to find comfort from food by constantly eating throughout the day? This is not an ideal habit. Limit yourself to three meals and two snacks a day. And by "snacks," we don't mean chocolates, biscuits, or sweets. Opt for nuts, seeds, and protein-rich items like sprouted green grams. Avoid staying awake for long just because it's a lockdown. The longer you stay awake, the more chances of you becoming hungry and binging on whatever food that's available.
When you eat, aim to make it as healthy as possible. Say yes to nutritious food and no to good-for-nothing items, especially sweets. Constant exposure to sweets results in acids produced by the fermentation of sugar-rich foods by the oral bacteria. The fermentation creates an ideal ecosystem for the bacteria to accelerate enamel demineralisation. The result is larger cavities, accumulation of plaque, and many problematic dental issues.
Now comes the million-dollar question: What would you do if you contract Covid? Not many people know the dental measures to follow during a Covid infection. We list some effective tips to follow if you or your loved ones have contracted the infection.
Covid-19 Infection & Dental Care: Your "To-Do' List
During a Covid19 infection, the SARS-CoV-2 virus moves down your respiratory tract, including your mouth, nose, throat, and lungs. So, your nasal and oral cavities are the first parts to become infected. Therefore, you need to be extra precautious about cleaning and disinfecting your toothbrush. Why?
Your toothbrush is a prime spot for oral bacteria, blood, saliva, and the Covid-19 virus. As we already know, the coronavirus can remain on surfaces for more than three days, including your toothbrush.
Take a wise call and implement these measures as soon as you isolate yourself:
Store your toothbrush and other dental accessories separately
- Disinfect your toothbrush with 0.5 % hydrogen peroxide solution.
- Rinse it with hot water every day for a few minutes
- Keep your brush in a well-ventilated area and dry it in an upright position
- Avoid electric brushes because they may produce more aerosols
- Sanitise your hands after brushing and flossing
Once you are free of the infection, discard your toothbrush and replace it with a new one. Ensure you safely dispose of your old brush instead of carelessly throwing it away.
Finally, quit all practices that adversely affect your oral health. The pandemic is a wake-up call for us to prioritise our health. And that includes our oral health too. So quit unhealthy practices like smoking and tobacco intake. The same holds for mental stress, which is highly prevalent in these tough times. Unchecked stress often leads to:
- Bruxism or teeth grinding habits
- Stress eating, binging and over-indulging
- Persistent lack of dental care
Daily Oral Care: The Need of The Hour
The pandemic-induced home isolation is no reason to ignore your dental practices. Pandemic or no pandemic, always stick to your dental routine and safeguard your oral health.
If you need any dental advice or video consultations, you can always reach out to our team of dentists in Gowrivakkam and Medavakkam. Swing by here to fix an appointment with our top dentists.