By now, most of us are managing our lives in the new normal due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Since we’ve never been on such a large-scale pandemic, we need to have extra measures for taking care of our teeth. Learn how to level up your oral care amid the health crisis.
The Impact of good oral health on your immune system
Every tooth infection or decay can trigger our immune systems to fight and protect our bodies from bacteria. Gum disease is a dental condition that involves chronic inflammation due to the spread of infection to the gums and jawbone. The chronic inflammation involved with these dental conditions can impair the immune system in fighting off new variants of diseases and viruses.
With good oral health, you protect your body from the advanced complications of infection or gum disease such as heart disease. You also lower your risk for life-threatening conditions like stroke and heart attack.
8 Oral care tips for good oral health amid COVID-19
What makes the contagious COVID-19 virus hard to contain is none of us can see it as it spreads. The transmission can be through the microscopic aerosols in the air and contaminated surfaces where they can stay for several days.
Here are some tips to keep you and your family protected from indirect contamination of COVID and boost your immune health.
#1 Avoid contamination and disinfect your toothbrush and toothbrush holders
Did you know that the toothbrush you use to clean your teeth can be a home for millions of bacteria?
Our mouths contain disease-causing bacteria that can accumulate in our toothbrushes. You may rinse your toothbrush from time to time, but it doesn’t remove the deep-seated bacteria within the bristles. Deep cleaning your toothbrush can prevent the cross-contamination of bacteria in your toothbrush and the toothbrushes of your family members.
Sanitize your toothbrush before and after use with hot water to kill the bacteria. It’s also crucial to take time to wash your toothbrush holders and opt for the ones with good air circulation.
#2 Replace your toothbrush after you get sick or every three months
The toothbrush you use when you are sick will more likely contain the bacteria that made you sick. If you are sick, dentists recommend isolating your toothbrush and replacing it as soon as you recover. It’s also important to replace your toothbrush or the head of your electric toothbrush every three to four months to prevent it from accumulating too much bacteria and causing illnesses.
#3 Add an antiseptic rinse or saltwater rinse to your routine
A saltwater rinse can both inhibit bacterial growth and reduce localized inflammation like mouth sores. It is the reason why your dentist recommends a salt rinse after tooth extraction. You can use salt or an antiseptic rinse to get rid of flu viruses and other bacteria that may be lingering in your mouth. Consult your dentist for the best brands of oral care products that are suitable for your dental condition.
#4 Double down on brushing and flossing
Brushing without flossing can still cause dental problems and vice versa. To keep infection, inflammation, and tooth decay at bay, make sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes. Flossing is also a crucial step to clean between your teeth, where bacteria and food debris can be stuck.
It’s also best to use dental floss or a water flosser first before you brush your teeth so that all the invisible bacteria removed between your teeth will be flushed away from your mouth.
#5 Limit sugary and high-carb foods and drinks
Taking care of your oral health goes beyond your oral hygiene. Your nutrition also plays a big part in keeping your teeth healthy. High-carb and sugary foods encourage bacterial growth in your mouth and boost plaque buildup. These foods also promote dry mouth which puts you at risk for several dental conditions.
Bacteria in plaque also release harmful acids that remove minerals from your teeth. Once your tooth enamel becomes too weak due to enamel erosion, you become prone to tooth decay. Once the tooth decay gets through the enamel, it becomes irreversible and can only be repaired with a tooth filling.
#6 Check for any plaque buildup in your teeth and visit your dentist for teeth cleaning
Plaque is an invisible and thin biofilm that clings around your teeth. It can be hard to see it at first, but it feels fuzzy when you touch it with your tongue. The white substance between your teeth or in the gum line is tartar buildup which is the hardened plaque.
Once the plaque turns into tartar, only your hygienist can thoroughly remove it using specialized dental tools. Get a deep cleaning twice a year to ensure that your teeth are in tip-top shape.
#7 Address early onset of dental conditions before they become more serious
That sudden jolting pain or the radiating pain in your gums is something that you should not neglect. Even consulting your dentist about the white spots on your teeth can save you from the perils of possible progression of tooth decay and expensive dental costs in the future.
When it comes to your oral health, time makes a difference, especially in saving your tooth and preventing the spread of bacterial infection.
#8 Live a healthier lifestyle not only for your teeth but also for your overall health
What’s good for your teeth is also good for your overall health. Steering away from too many sweets and carbs can keep a few inches off your waistline. Consuming fibrous fruits and vegetables not only naturally scrapes stains off your teeth but also nourishes your body with loads of vitamins and minerals.
Keep a good oral care routine to support your immune system against COVID-19
More than ever, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to our health. Extraordinary situations like COVID-19 also require extraordinary oral care strategies to boost our immune health and stay protected.
Protect your oral health and support your immune health with the guidance of Dr. Alston. Genesis Family Dentistry provides preventive dental services in Uptown Charlotte, NC. Schedule an appointment today and level the playing field between you and viruses in the ongoing pandemic