Tuesday, September 28
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Dental care during the lockdown

27 May 2020

The efforts to contain and reduce the spread of COVID-19 included dental offices closing their doors for all non-emergent dental procedures.This likely affected many patients suffering from a range of dental problems. Dr Prerana Kalita, at Dento Surg, Dental and Implant Center, provides expert guidance for handling some common dental problems during the lockdown.

Importance of flossing

To put it simply, flossing is very important. There are five surfaces to every tooth and when you only brush and don’t floss, you’re only cleaning three of those surfaces. Especially now, being as clean and healthy throughout our entire body is of utmost importance. That brings us to the question: Is it safe to put our fingers in our mouth to floss? Yes, but make sure to follow the usual safety/cleanliness recommendations. Wash your hands, thoroughly, first.

The toothbrush

The general recommendation is to change your toothbrush or toothbrush head every three to six months. If you do get sick, however, you should always change your toothbrush or toothbrush head after you’ve been sick and start with a fresh one.

Overall immunity

The mouth is the ‘gateway’ to the rest of the body and has a huge connection to our overall health. If our immune system is suppressed due to a sickness or a health condition, then it’s not working at full capacity in other areas. So, if we neglect our oral health, it could cause our immune system to give more attention to the dental issue, allowing other illnesses the opportunity to arise elsewhere. Since our mouth and body is connected, the goal is to keep the bacterial load within normal to help maintain a healthy balance. Just as washing our hands keeps bacteria at a bay, so does brushing and flossing.

Using dental cleaning tools

Brushing and flossing are the most important, so at a bare minimum, those two acts will keep your teeth and gums in the best shape possible until your next dental appointment. Another good way to keep your mouth and body clean is to brush your tongue once a day. This can be done with a tongue scraper or just with your toothbrush. Waterpiks, rubber tip stimulators, and proxa-brushes are all wonderful tools to add to your preventive routine if you’d like, but unless your regular dental professionals have encouraged you to use these previously, they aren’t usually necessary as long as you’re brushing and flossing.

Using fluoride products

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that binds to our enamel and strengthens it to help prevent decay and sensitivity. I usually recommend that my patients brush with a fluoridated toothpaste (if you aren’t sure, look for sodium fluoride in the ingredients list on your tube of toothpaste) twice a day and rinse with a fluoridated mouthwash once a day.

Especially during these times of postponed dental care, one should adopt and stick to a diligent homecare routine to give your mouth and body its best chance of health possible. To recap, your routine would look like this: brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss, use a fluoride mouthwash once a day and brush your tongue daily.

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