Dental Hygiene during covid times: How to care for your teeth in the midst of the pandemic

Updated on Jul 01, 2021 11:54 PM IST  |  187.6K
   
Dental Hygiene during covid times: How to care for your teeth in the midst of the pandemic
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We all know that washing our hands is extremely important to prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, it has been proven that our mouth is a reservoir for the SARS-COV2. We fail to understand that droplets of saliva contain the virus and hence sneezing, coughing or even simply talking is responsible for its spread. It is essential to maintain good oral hygiene to help reduce the chances of viral infection.

Research has shown that the three most common issues with people affected by covid are: 

  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad breath 
  • Oral ulcers.

There is a direct correlation between the intensity of the above-mentioned conditions and poor oral hygiene. Maintaining good oral cleanliness is mandatory to prevent such issues not only when afflicted with Covid but following recovery as well.

One of the most effective measures for controlling the viral and bacterial load in your mouth is brushing. It is recommended that this be performed at least twice a day for good oral hygiene. Moreover, if done correctly, this can help prevent a large number of other dental diseases. 

Flossing helps cleaning in between teeth. This removes plaque and food particles in places where your toothbrush cannot reach. The correct way of using floss is to guide it gently in between two teeth and to avoid snapping or popping the floss. There are various kinds available in the market such as waxed and non-waxed threads, interproximal brushes, water floss, etc.

While not a replacement for daily brushing and flossing, the use of mouthwash is a helpful addition to your daily oral hygiene routine. They are antibacterial in nature and help reduce plaque build-up. There are two kinds of mouthwashes available in the market- medicated and non-medicated. We highly recommend the use of non-medicated, non-alcohol-based mouth rinses for daily use. 

Patients often tend to complain of dry mouth also known as xerostomia due to constant mask-wearing and mouth breathing. The fear of removal of the mask leads to a lack of water intake. This increases the chances of the above-mentioned issues and hence proper hydration is advised. 

For those already suffering from Covid-19, it is recommended that you disinfect your oral hygiene aids daily using warm water following usage and store them separately. Always wash your hands before you start with your oral care routine. Avoid using powered toothbrushes and water flossers in such times as they may produce aerosols. Kindly discard your toothbrush and toothpaste post-recovery.

In case of ulcers that could be quite painful, it is recommended to use over the counter mouth ulcer gels like mucopain, dologel, smyle etc. to help ease the inflammation. However, it is essential to confer with your dentist prior to using these gels. It is advisable to avoid very hot and spicy foods during this time.

Work from home scenarios in most households has led to poor lifestyle and dietary choices. Increased intake of starchy and sugary food and beverages has led to a major increase in the incidence of cavities. We recommend healthy snack options instead of high sugar foods to reduce the chances of cavities and further dental complications.

The oral complications of covid though numerous can be easily managed. We would like to stress the fact that regular brushing, flossing and annual dental visits will definitely keep your dental problems at bay. However, in case of dental emergencies or any other complications do not hesitate to visit your dentist.

About the author: Dr Reiyal Goveas, Bds, Dip. Oral oncology and radiation biology, Fellow maxillofacial prosthetics service, Mahidol university.

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