Covid-19 has created havoc in ways no one saw coming. Being stuck inside the four walls of our houses has not only taken a toll on our mental and physical health but has also started to affect your oral health. And the worst thing about this is that the deterioration of oral health comes to the notice only when things have gotten out of hand.
Everyone understands how toothaches, cavities and bleeding gums can disrupt one’s daily life. Poor oral health can have monumental consequences on your overall health in ways not even known to patients:
1. Pregnancy Complications (dental disease has been linked to preeclampsia and premature birth)
2. Bacterial Infections in the bloodstream (such infections can damage heart valves)
3. Coronary Heart Disease (losing teeth is sometimes connected to this ailment)
4. Dementia (a 2019 study discovered that a bacteria responsible for gingivitis was found in the brains of individuals who died with Alzheimer’s disease)
5. Diabetes (periodontitis can contribute to unregulated blood-sugar levels)
6. Childcare (parents and/or caregivers can inadvertently transmit cavity-causing bacteria to children)
7. Education (an American Journal of Public Health study found that children experiencing tooth pain were four times more likely to have a low GPA).
So, what can one do on their own account to ensure that their oral health is good when they cannot schedule their regular appointments to dentists?
Here are a few things one can do:
1. Choose healthier snacks:
We all know that sugar is a slow poison for our teeth. And most of our munchies often are made of sugar. So, one of the easiest ways to keep your teeth safe is to make snacking choices that are healthier. Fortunately, we have an abundance of options when it comes to healthy snacks. Some options can be
- Nuts such as peanuts, cashews, and pistachios
- Raisins and other dried fruits
- Fresh fruits
- Fresh vegetables
- Cheese and yogurt
- Dark chocolate
2. Inculcate for better eating habits:
You may be an all-star when it comes to brushing and flossing but the truth is that it is impossible to floss out all the damaging bacteria from your mouth, more so if you are constantly snacking. Limiting your munching to two three meals and two snacks a day can make significant contributions to your oral hygiene. However, needless to say, that doesn’t mean you have to starve yourself. Including protein with each meal or snack will keep you full and help you stick to your eating schedule.
3. East or west, water as a beverage is the best!
Water is like a magic potion for our bodies. They not only flush out toxins from our body but also protect your teeth in a certain way. Plenty of alternative beverages have tooth-harming ingredients, and regularly sipping on soda/pop, milk, coffee, tea, or juice might encourage decay.
4. Eating faster not only saves time, but also saves your teeth:
That’s right, by keeping your munching sessions short, you actually save your teeth. Continuing to eat for longer periods of time is no better than eating lots of small meals. Quicker meals promote better oral hygiene.
5. Brush and floss your teeth regularly:
This is probably the most obvious advice of the millennium when it comes to maintaining good oral health. However, one should note that only brushing and flossing isn’t enough, one should learn the proper techniques.
6. Wash your hands!
Not washing your hands before brushing or flossing is like washing your food properly and eating with muddy, dirty hands. There are negative health outcomes to not washing hands before brushing. Not washing your hands can contribute to diseases like pinworms, toxoplasmosis, hand-foot-mouth disease, Giardia, E. Coli – and given the current times, even Covid-19.
7. Use an antibacterial mouthwash:
Mouthwashes have a lot of known benefits but are often not used by people due to the added efforts. But a good oral care routine must always include an antibacterial mouthwash as it can fight off bad breath, dry mouth and certain infections too.
8. Disinfect your brush:
Brushes are prone to infections too, just like your mouth. Disinfecting your brush at regular intervals should be inculcated or else using an infected brush to clean your mouth is just a moot point.
In these times it is difficult to reach out to your dentists and thus the burden of maintaining oral hygiene is heavier on the patient’s end. Extra precautions must be taken to ensure that these small habits are practiced by them or else things could aggravate and the patient might have to suffer pain.
And while there are a lot of things one can do to maintain oral hygiene, the best thing about these habits is that they are really REALLY simple. They just require a little effort and dedication.
But remember, a little effort today can save you from a lot of pain tomorrow.