As required by the government, all routine dental procedures have been postponed to help to minimise the risk of spread of COVID-19. It is not known how long the outbreak will last for and how long before it will be safe to return to normal dental operations. It is now more important than ever to ensure that you take steps to look after your teeth and gums to prevent your oral health from deteriorating before the next time you are able to have a check up.
Maintain good brushing and flossing
As always, brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste. Floss your teeth at least once a day. Brushing your teeth thoroughly should take at least 2 minutes. Ensure that you cover every surface of every tooth – cheek side, tongue side and biting side. Consider switching to an electric toothbrush as most people find it easier to maintain the highest level of oral hygiene with an electric toothbrush. Change your toothbrush regularly every 3-4 months or if you notice that the bristles are frayed. Always ensure you use a soft toothbrush in a gentle motion to avoid gum recession. Ensure you do not brush for at least 30 minutes after a meal as this can damage your enamel and it is best to brush last thing at night before you go to bed.
Keep your toothbrush clean
If your toothbrush lives in the same room as a toilet, make sure you close the toilet lid every time you flush. This is because the flushing action of a toilet creates tiny droplets of water called aerosols to be sprayed into the air. These droplets can then slowly settle on surfaces, including your toothbrush bristles! Faecal matter has been shown to contain coronavirus particles and can be a possible source of transmission. Keep oral hygiene devices like tongue cleaners and floss picks covered if possible.
If you are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, ensure that you do not share your toothbrush and toothpaste with other members of your household as this can transmit the virus to another person. You should dispose of your old toothbrush once you have recovered from the disease.
Wash your hands
COVID-19 can be spread by contacting objects that the virus droplets have landed on, then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. This means it is important to wash your hands thoroughly before you start brushing and flossing your teeth. Also ensure you wash your hands thoroughly after you have finished your oral hygiene routine.
Have a healthy diet
Do you ever snack when you’re bored or stressed? With many of our regular routines disrupted by social distancing and isolation requirements, many of us are at home more than ever. This can lead to changes in behaviour and habits, such as frequent snacking. Snacking can be detrimental to your oral health as regular exposure to foods creates an environment that can lead to dental decay.
Some diet tips to help to keep your teeth healthy include:
- Only snack when you’re hungry, not when you’re bored
- Choose foods like nuts, fruits and dairy that is low in sugar
- Only snack once in between meals
- Try chewing sugar-free gum after a meal or snack
- Avoid frequent sipping on acidic drinks such as lemon water and soft drinks
- Drink 2 litres of water daily
- Avoid hard and sticky foods like popcorn, ice chips and chewy caramels as this can crack teeth or lead to damaged fillings
Maintain your general health
Oral health and your general overall health is closely linked. If your overall health declines, this can often lead to a deterioration of oral health as well. It is recommended to keep an active healthy lifestyle and exercise daily in accordance to social distancing requirements. Make sure that any medical conditions are well managed. It is important that you do not avoid seeing your GP to maintain your general health during this time.
Book your next dental appointment
Although we are unable to see you for a routine check up at this time, we are happy to accept bookings for future appointments. This ensures that you will be seen as soon as possible and prevents you from forgetting or being unaware that normal dental operations have resumed. There is a possibility that dental appointments booked now will need to be rescheduled if the restrictions are still in place, but we are happy to continue to reschedule the appointment and see you as soon as it is safe to do so. Contact us on (03) 5981 2255 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to make a future appointment.