Oral Care Advice During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting us, our families and friends in many ways. When it comes to our oral health, some people are unsure on what to do if they have a dental emergency, others are seeking tips on how to spend the extra time at home to take better care of their health. During this stressful period, we have created a series of oral health simple tips and advice to help.
1. What should you do in a dental emergency during COVID-19?
Wherever possible we should all stay at home to stop the spread of COVID-19. However if you are in extreme pain, have substantial and worsening swelling, uncontrolled bleeding, , or are unsure and very concerned, contact your dentist.
If you don’t have a dentist or can’t get an emergency appointment, we recommend you contact NHS helpline on 111. You can find more information at the Oral Health Foundation by clicking here:
2. Should you go to the dentist during this crisis?
To help stop the spread of COVID-19, the health authorities advice is for any elective non-urgent treatments such as a regular hygiene appointment, you should not visit your dentist until dental surgeries resume normal business. If you’re unsure about whether your needs are urgent or not, contact your local dental surgery as many have Emergency Helplines setup to give advice and help, without your needing to leave your home. If you can’t get hold of your dentist but still need advice, contact the NHS Helpline on 111.
Elective non-urgent treatments include: dental check ups, scale and polish, x-rays, braces appointments, cosmetic dentistry such as whitening, treatment for conditions that are not painful such as bleeding gums, fillings or loose crowns.
3. Other oral health advice during the COVID-19 crisis.
We understand that most people have a lot on their minds at the moment, making it easy to overlook some basic hygiene steps like brushing teeth properly, but we believe now more than ever your oral hygiene is really important, so:
Many people are snacking more during these stressful times. Where possible, try to keep sugar consumption to meal times, and maintain regular brushing for 2 minutes twice a day. While this is well known advice, it is especially important during the COVID-19 crisis as it can help keep you away from an emergency trip to the dentist, keeping our dentists focussed on helping those with emergencies as part of our front-line team.
Elevated stress can result in teeth grinding, called bruxism. This can be more common during times of stress such as this COVID-19 pandemic. You may not even be aware of it, sometimes a partner may notice this during sleep. Try to relax your jaw muscle as much as possible, massage the area and apply heat if needed. Finally consult your dentist about a mouth guard when surgeries are open again as normal.
- Denture and Retainer wearers:
For people who wear a full or partial denture or a retainer, it is particularly important that you pay extra special care to keep them clean. Take extra care washing hands to reduce the risk of infection, as these devices are prone to bacteria building up.
- Flossing and using interdental brushes
Floss and Interdental Brushes are especially effective at removing plaque and bacteria from hard to reach areas in between teeth, and is particularly recommended for people with gum problems such as gingivitis and periodontitis.
Keep your toothbrush clean and dry, and it is prudent to replace it if you have had symptoms of COVID-19.
- Healthy Diet:
Many people are taking this time to get fit and healthy, and eat more healthy fruit and drinking more fruit juice. While this is good for your overall diet, it can harm your enamel, as certain food and drink will lower the pH in your mouth. Over time, these acidic foods and drinks can wear away tooth enamel exposing dentine underneath. Once enamel has worn away, it is gone for good therefore it is important to protect it.
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