Keen to to avoid a dental emergency and maintain optimum oral health?
You can influence your general health by having a healthy mouth. The mouth is an important part of the body, and what happens in the mouth has an influence on your overall health. Here's some tips from Dr Andrea Shepperson from City Dental at Quay Park to best look after your oral health during COVID-19.
- Spend extra time brushing your teeth, and the gumline around your teeth. This will help to remove bacteria that cause gum inflammation. COVID-19 can create an extreme inflammatory response in the body - known as a "cytokine storm." We know that patients with other co-morbidities that are inflammatory conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, suffer worse COVID-19 outcomes. We also know that improvements in gum health in susceptible individuals have positive outcomes on these other inflammatory conditions. So improving your gum health and reducing gum inflammation, might be a good thing to do for your overall inflammatory health. There is no need to brush hard, take your time with gentle brushing and be thorough.
- Floss at least once a day. Flossing also helps reduce gum inflammation. While you have the time, try it if you don't floss already.
- Comfort food and reaching for the pantry or fridge is a natural response in times of crisis for many. Try to cut back on sugar - it also contributes to inflammation. While it may not create big cavities in a few weeks, it helps to change the chemistry of the mouth and create potential for decay to start, and teeth to become sensitive.
- Limit your intake of acidic drinks. In lockdown our eating and drinking habits can change and we have more time to consume differently. Acidic drinks have the potential to dissolve tooth enamel and create tooth sensitivity. This includes wine, soft drinks, liquid or gel Vitamin C, citrus fruits and lemon juice in water. The impact can occur quickly over just a few weeks.
- Avoid sticky, chewy things like toffees, particularly if you know you need dental treatment and didn't get it finished before the lockdown. These sweets can lift off temporary crowns, or remove vulnerable fillings.
- Stress can lead to clenching teeth, with resultant muscle pain, and the risk of broken teeth. Try to find time to relax, do some facial muscle massage and try to switch off from COVID-19 news for a while.
- Don't use your teeth as scissors. Never cut with your teeth or use them to open bottles. Using your teeth as tools can cause teeth to chip or break and increase the need for emergency care.
- Change your toothbrush every two to three months and always replace your toothbrush when you've been unwell.
- Use flouride toothpaste when you brush.
- Use a good quality mouthwash to rinse your mouth.