Did your dental appointment get postponed due to COVID-19?
Thousands of patients across the world have had their professional dental care put on hold. Note the emphasized word “professional.”
Just because you can’t see your dental professional at this time, doesn’t mean you should put your at-home dental care on pause too.
If anything, now is the best time to up your dental hygiene routine, especially if you’re currently overdue for a dental cleaning or periodontal treatment.
In this blog, we’ll outline 10 quick dental tips during quarantine you can use to improve or maintain your oral health.
Try these dental tips during quarantine
Let’s start with the most obvious and work our way to new, interesting dental tips.
1. Brush your teeth
The American Dental Association… This text opens a new tab to the ADA recommendation on brushing teeth… recommends brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
Are you eating more during quarantine than usual? More sugar and acidic foods or drinks?
If so, it wouldn’t hurt to brush your teeth after every meal.
2. Floss your teeth
It’s common knowledge you should floss your teeth once a day. But realistically, how often do you do it?
With more time at home, you have more time to floss your teeth!
Start flossing your teeth once a day while at home during quarantine, and soon, it’ll become a regular part of your hygiene routine that can carry on after the pandemic.
To keep you motivated, take a picture of your teeth and gumlines right now. Then take a picture in two weeks to compare the improvement.
Many patients will notice less puffy and red gums, which is a reduction of gum disease symptoms! You may also see less yellowish build-up in between your teeth, making your smile look whiter.
3. Change your toothbrush
You should change your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if the bristles are frayed.
If you or a family member have been sick, we recommend replacing your toothbrush right away!
You should also try to store your toothbrush in a place that’s well-ventilated and does not touch other household members’ toothbrushes. This will prevent bacterial growth and the spread of germs.
4. Brush to music
Many electric toothbrushes nowadays have a timer to alert you when it’s been two minutes or when it’s time to switch to a different quadrant of your mouth.
But if you’re using a manual toothbrush, it can be hard to keep track of two minutes.
That’s why listening to a song while you brush can help you keep track. You can monitor the length of time the song has played to see when your time is up.
5. Turn on a toothbrush video
Any parents out there? Struggle to get your kids to brush their teeth?
You’re not alone!
To help turn this mundane task into a fun activity, pull up YouTube on your phone or tablet and search “kids tooth brushing songs… This text opens a new tab to YouTube kids tooth brush videos….”
There are TONS of kid-friendly songs made specifically to play while your child brushes his/her teeth. Plus, they provide educational tips and will help your child establish life-long healthy habits.
You will get these songs stuck in your head!
6. Drink more water
Water helps wash away harmful bacteria and keep you hydrated to produce saliva.
Most water sources also contain fluoride, which is essential for your oral health.
Fluoride is very successful in protecting your teeth from decay by remineralizing the enamel layer and reversing early signs of cavities.
In King County, more than 66% of the public water system population… This text opens a new tab to the Department of Health website… are receiving fluoridated water.
Other sources of fluoride include certain foods and drinks, dental products (toothpaste, etc.), and treatments by a dentist.
7. Avoid these in your diet
Not only are these foods and drinks… This text opens a new tab to the Healthline website… bad for your overall health, but they are known for causing cavities and dental problems.
- Citrus: These foods or drinks contain acids, which breaks down your enamel
- Dried fruits: The sticky texture gets stuck on your teeth and leaves behind a lot of sugar
- Sticky or sour candy: These tend to stick to your teeth longer than other candies
- Bread and potato chips: Your mouth turns these starches into sugar, which easily get stuck between your teeth
- Chewing on ice: This habit results in a lot of chipped and broken teeth
- Soda (diet soda too): Contains extremely high levels of acid, which damages your enamel
- Alcohol: Dries out your mouth and reduces your saliva production, leaving you vulnerable to decay
Now, let’s be practical:
We know removing all these from your diet may be far fetched. But being aware of the negative consequences can help you long term. You can slowly evolve your diet and take extra precautions when you do enjoy these foods, like drinking water, brushing, and flossing more.
8. Add these to your diet
Contrary to the above, here’s a list of foods that are good for your oral health!
- Basil: A natural antibiotic
- Broccoli: Forms an acid-resistant film on teeth to prevent enamel erosion
- Carrots: Great source of Vitamin A for the formation of enamel, and helps cleanse and stimulate your gums
- Cheese: Offers lactic acid to prevent tooth decay
- Celery: Activates saliva production
- Ginger: An anti-inflammatory
- Green tea: Contains catechin, an antioxidant that reduces a gingivitis-causing bacteria
- Kale: High in minerals that support the tooth structure
- Onions: Reduces certain bacteria that cause tooth decay
- Pineapple: Produces saliva and promotes a healing alkaline response in your mouth
- Salmon: Great source of Vitamin D
- Strawberries: Works as “scrubbers” for your teeth and is high in fiber and Vitamin C for gum health
- Xylitol (in the form of gum or mints): Helps prevent tooth decay
9. Prevent dental emergencies
Most dentists across the country are closed or offer emergency dentistry only, like us.
So if there was ever a time to experience a dental emergency, this is not the most ideal time.
But you can do your part to keep dental emergencies to a minimum with these tips:
- Don’t use your teeth to open bottles or cut open packages
- Don’t chew on hard objects like ice, pencils, popcorn kernels, or candy
- Use floss to remove things stuck between your teeth
- Continue to maintain optimal oral health
- Call your dentist for emergency dental care (not the hospital)
After quarantine, you can continue to help by:
- Wearing a mouthguard during sports
- Not delaying recommended dental care
- Consulting with your dentist if you notice signs of a dental problem (pain, inflammation, etc.)
10. Remember the pandemic is temporary, your smile is not
When your dentist resumes business as usual, make sure you book your dental appointment(s) ASAP.
With many patients having their treatment postponed or overdue, the likelihood is your dentist’s schedule will fill up fast. Stay connected by liking their Facebook… This text opens a new tab to Implant & Periodontic Specialists’ Facebook… or check their website regularly for updates.
Avoiding or delaying dental care can have short and long-term consequences. Additionally, research shows your oral health is linked to your overall health. Visiting your dentist and maintaining proper oral health at home is vital to your wellbeing.
These dental tips for quarantine aren’t limited to the pandemic situation. You can continue to implement them for the rest of your life!
Have a dental concern or emergency?
Dr. Neal Raval and Dr. Stephan Kohnen offer world-class implant dentistry and periodontics in the Greater Northwest. With specialized education and training beyond general dentistry, they can provide a majority of dental services in two convenient locations.
For the current status of our office amidst this pandemic, visit our COVID-19 update page.
P.S. Of all the dental tips during quarantine, which one are you going to do first? Let us know in the comments!