COVID-19: Tips for Taking Care of Your Teeth at Home
Posted by Dr. Julie Boudreault On 20-07-2020
Nothing is worse than getting that “furry” feeling on your teeth when it’s been a while since your last dental cleaning and hygiene appointment. Staying at home due to COVID-19 is probably making you feel like you need a good cleaning if you’ve missed your six-month checkup. We want you to stay healthy, which means not only reducing the risk of being in contact with someone with the virus but also keeping up with proper dental care for your teeth.
A lot of us might be falling into bad habits while in isolation, including upping our intake of carbs. There’s not much else to do than sit around binge-watching Netflix and munching on salty or sweet carbs. This is a temptation that’s hard to break away from, but it can be causing issues, including dreaded weight gain and even tooth decay. Carbs, despite their undeniable taste, combine with bacteria in your mouth and produce harmful acid. More acid in your mouth means more potential damage to your teeth. Every time you enjoy a sugary treat or drink, the acid remains in your mouth for at least 20 minutes. This provides ample time to increase your risk of tooth decay and cavities. However, you can help reduce this risk with our top tips to help you get that dental office clean while you’re stuck at home.
Choose Healthier Snacks
It’s never too late to change bad habits. Start choosing healthier snacks when you’re out grocery shopping to reduce sugar and carbs in your diet. When you don’t have access to bad snacks at home, you’ll be more likely to reach for healthy choices like:
- Natural yogurt
Also, remember that sometimes what you think might be a healthy snack isn’t. Some culprits include dried fruit and flavoured yogurts. Yogurts can contain a lot of sugar, while dried fruit is just as sugary and sticks to your teeth like candy. When you choose our healthy snack recommendations, you’ll help not only reduce acids but also neutralize them.
Practice Better Eating Habits
This is not so much about the food you choose, but how and when you eat it. It might seem weird, but you can improve your diet by using healthier eating habits, including:
- Don’t eat and drink over long periods of time, especially when you’re sitting around binge-watching movies and TV.
- Stick to three meals and not more than two snacks each day.
- Just drink water—no juice, alcohol, dairy, soda, etc.—to reduce your sugar intake.
- Always enjoy some form of protein or fats with each meal or snack.
- Choose healthy snacks from the list above, including fresh fruit, crunchy fresh vegetables, etc.
- Avoid unhealthy snacks, including granola bars, dried fruit, sugary yogurts, and chips.
Follow these rules, and you might even find that you will lose weight as a bonus!
Stick to a Healthy Oral Hygiene Regime
Your overall schedule has probably changed drastically, including the chance of falling asleep on the couch. This can make it tempting to go straight to bed without brushing your teeth. However, now it’s more important than ever to stick to a strict oral health regime since you can’t visit our office for your professional cleanings. Your 5-step oral health care should always include:
- Brushing twice a day for at least two minutes using fluoride toothpaste.
- Cleaning between your teeth, whether you choose to floss, use a proxabrush, soft picks, or even a water pick.
- Adding an antibacterial mouthwash daily to your brushing routine if you don’t already use one.
- Chewing xylitol gum or mints to help neutralize the acid in your saliva, and also as a great little treat after meals or snacking. It keeps your breath fresh too!
- Rinsing your mouth with water after eating, including snacks.
These 5 steps will help up your oral hygiene game for improved dental health and reduce the risk of tooth decay and cavities.
When to Call Our Office
Although seeing patients was off the table during shutdowns, we can now see patients again. If you have any of the following issues, call our office right away:
- A damaged tooth: If you experience a crack or chip, give us a call, and we can set up a phone appointment to determine if you need to see us or can wait. With severe breaks, you can also be at risk of cuts to your tongue or cheeks, so it’s important to call us to determine if you require immediate attention.
- Intense, persistent pain: Dental pain is a sign that something is wrong. We can discuss your pain and arrange an appointment for a checkup if it seems like you require treatment. While there are a number of things that won’t be urgent, such as tooth sensitivity, pain caused by infection or deep cavities will require immediate attention. Either way, we will recommend at-home care to manage pain if you don’t need to come to the office.
- Swelling: Like pain, swelling in your mouth, gums, or jaw could mean infection, including a dangerous abscess. Bacterial infections are serious and often require antibiotics before we can treat the tooth. Call us right away so we can take care of the issue before the infection spreads.
- Tooth loss: Having a tooth knocked out during a pandemic is still an issue. Call us right away, and we can arrange to have you seen. Find your tooth and place it in a cup filled with cold milk to help improve the chances of us saving it.
While the pandemic has been making life a bit challenging, it’s important to keep healthy, and that includes your dental health. If you have any questions, feel free to call Milltown Dental at 905-878-8528.