Coronavirus or Covid-19, is caused by the SARS-CoV-2, a new strain of coronavirus that developed recently as a mutation of other coronaviruses. Unfortunately, this new strain has wreaked havoc in several countries around the world, including the United States. Currently, our federal government is urging people to remain in their homes to slow the spread of the virus. Some state and local governments have even gone as far as issuing mandatory shelter in place orders.
In coordination with federal guidelines, the American Dental Association has issued a formal statement recommending the temporary suspension of non-essential dental treatments until April 30th at the earliest. What this means is that dental offices across the country are remaining open only to tend to urgent or emergency dental cases.
With the temporary suspension of elective and preventative dental services, having a personal preventative dental routine is more important than ever before. Since the last thing you may be thinking about right now is your teeth, we’ve compiled a guide to managing your oral health during the Covid-19 crisis.
Maintain Oral Hygiene
While there is a lot going on right now, it is important to maintain proper oral hygiene despite the fact that your daily routine may have changed. To maintain your oral hygiene, be sure to continue brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste and a soft bristled toothbrush, and to floss daily. Both these activities will remove plaque and food debris from your teeth and reduce your risk of developing dental cavities.
If you have certain dental restorations, such as permanent bridgework, crowns, or dental implants, you will also need to continue cleaning your teeth using a waterpik. Waterpiks may also work better than flossing for people who have difficulty handling string floss or reaching the back of their mouth.
Watch the Sugar
Another way to preserve your teeth is to manage the amount of sugar you consume. Sugars are found in most sweet treats, carbohydrates, and soft drinks, so you will want to limit the consumption of these items. This is because sugar feeds the decay-causing bacteria in your mouth and can result in tooth decay. When you do consume foods or beverages with excess sugar, rinse your mouth with water or milk afterwards to decrease the damage.
Wear Your Mouthguard
If your dentist has prescribed a mouthguard for TMD or bruxism, be sure to wear it as directed. This will keep your jaw in the proper position and reduce the symptoms associated with TMD. Additionally, mouthguards protect your teeth from becoming chipped or cracked as a result of the pressure exerted by bruxism.
Avoid Certain Foods
While it is a good idea to generally limit your consumption of foods that are very hard, chewy, sticky, or crunchy, now would be a good time to avoid them altogether. This is because these foods can potentially cause damage to your teeth and dislodge dental restorations. Therefore, to prevent the need for an emergency dental visit, we recommend temporarily abstaining from consuming these foods.
Avoid Detrimental Behaviors
In addition to avoiding foods that can damage your teeth, it is also recommended to avoid behaviors that can cause damage as well. Some examples include: nail biting, ice chewing, and using your teeth to open bottles and packages. Basically, you should avoid using your teeth for anything but biting and chewing food.
Overall, everyone here at The Sadati Center for Aesthetic Dentistry hopes that this guide will help you to preserve your oral health during the covid-19 outbreak. By maintaining proper oral hygiene, managing your sugar levels, wearing your mouthguard, and avoiding certain foods and behaviors, you have the best chance of keeping your teeth in good condition and avoiding potential dental emergencies. In the case that you do have a dental emergency, call our office for further information.
Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry. He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.