Keeping Your Mouth Healthy in the Midst of a Pandemic

Keeping Your Mouth Healthy in the Midst of a Pandemic

With the spread of COVID-19, our lives have been greatly affected and our world has all but shut down.  We are working from home, homeschooling our children, and barely leaving the house.  Our appointments have been cancelled and our routine has been totally disrupted.  In the midst of coping with the stress and creating a new normal, we want to remind you to take care of your oral health.  You may have to postpone your routine dental cleaning, but there are plenty of things you can do to ensure that even in the midst of a world pandemic you are taking care of your teeth.

  1. Practice good dental hygiene.

Like we already mentioned, your routine has more-than-likely been completely disrupted.  This means that while you may have been in the habit of practicing good dental hygiene before the world was hit with a pandemic, you may have let these good habits slip.  Or perhaps you have never been in a good routine.  With so much extra time at home, why not start getting into the habit of practicing good dental hygiene?  Ensuring you have a clean, healthy mouth is simple: brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time and floss once a day.  Flossing is something that often gets neglected, but now that you have all this extra time at home, it’s the perfect time to add this to your nightly routine.  Make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride which helps get rid of germs that cause tooth decay, and consider rinsing with mouthwash once a day for added protection and cleanliness.

2. Limit tooth-decaying food and drinks.

All this extra time at home may have you grazing the fridge and pantry more often than usual.  If this is the case, try to limit the amount of sugary and acidic items you are eating and drinking.  Sugary sodas and juices are very bad for your teeth and greatly increase your risk of cavities.  Candy, dessert, and processed junk food also have a significant amount of sugar and can lead to tooth decay, not to mention many other adverse health effects.  While you have this extra time at home and you find yourself snacking more often, consider choosing mouth-healthy options such as crunchy fruits and vegetables that can help wipe away plaque-causing bacteria.  As far as beverages go, drinking water is not only good for your overall health, but it’s great for your oral hygiene because it helps wash away germs from your teeth and gums.

3. Beware of stress.

There is no doubt that this is an extremely stressful time for our world.  During this time, it’s important to remember that high levels of stress are not good for any part of your body, including your oral health.  One of the main ways stress can manifest itself in your oral health is by causing you to grind or clench your teeth, particularly while you are sleeping.  If you find that your mouth and jaw are sore when you wake up, or if you have severe headaches when you wake up in the morning, there’s a good chance you have been grinding or clenching your teeth.  In addition to practicing relaxation techniques to rid your body of stress before you fall asleep, you can also consider purchasing an over-the-counter night guard that will protect your teeth and jaw while you sleep.  Keep in mind that stress can also negatively affect your immune system, which can in turn make you more vulnerable to gum disease.

These are hard and uncertain times, but there are still healthy and positive choices we can make every day.  Keep up with your oral hygiene practices, eat a nutritious and balanced diet, and try to practice stress-relieving activities as often as possible.