How to aim to avoid a dental emergency and maintain optimum oral health.
Our regular patients at Cherrybank Dental Spa, in Perth, will know how seriously we take helping you to keep your mouth healthy. All of our patients are seen routinely at recommended bespoke intervals by our team of dental hygienists, dental therapists and dentists.
Dr Elaine Halley would like to pass on her Top Ten Tips for keeping yourself healthy during this lockdown time.
- Spend extra time and care brushing your teeth, and the gum around your teeth. This will help to remove the bacteria that can cause gum irritation and inflammation. COVID-19 can create an extreme inflammatory response in the body – known as a “cytokine storm.” We know that patients with other conditions that involve inflammation, 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, just take your time with gentle brushing and be thorough.
- Floss or use tepee brushes at least once a day. Cleaning between your teeth also helps reduce gum inflammation. While you have the time, try it if you don’t do it regularly already.
Try to cut back on sugar – it also contributes to inflammation. Comfort food and reaching for the cupboard or fridge is a natural response in times of crisis for many. Changes in sugar frequency can start to change the chemistry of the mouth and create the potential for decay to begin, and teeth to become sensitive. Some individuals who are prone to a dry mouth, (perhaps due to medications) are particularly at risk.
- 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 fluoride toothpaste when you brush.
- Use a good quality mouthwash to rinse your mouth.
Our patients are very well cared for by our clinicians. If you’ve been part of our regular preventative programmes over the years and you care for your mouth at home, you should feel the comfort that emergencies are unlikely over this period. We are manning the phones and can give advice as required.
Please stay safe over this time. We look forward to seeing you when we are able to re-open.