Whether you are currently self-isolating, or just want to be prepared if you need to in the future, now is a great time to be informed on staying on top of your dental health if you are at home for an extended period.
Here are a few of our best tips for maintaining your oral care amidst self-isolation.
1. Set and Stick With A Self-Isolation Oral Care Routine
Staying consistent with your usual oral health routine is always important, and self-isolation is no exception.
Here are 6 must-do steps every day to take care of your oral health:
- Brush at least twice a day using a gentle, circular motion toward the gum margin. An electric brush can be a great tool for ensuring a thorough clean. Soft bristles are gentle on the gums while still being effective. Also, be sure to replace your toothbrush as needed (generally every 3 months).
- Use a fluoride toothpaste (feel free to ask us if you need a recommendation on the best fluoride toothpaste).
- Use a tongue cleaner to gently scrape away excess bacteria and plaque that can contribute to bad breath. Since it clears away food debris and dead cells from the tongue’s surface, tongue cleaning is also a great way to improve your ability to taste
- Floss at least once a day.
- Use a 1% peroxide mouthwash for 30 seconds. This step can help disrupt viruses and may even have a slight chance of reducing the risk of spreading a virus.
- Always wash your hands and use a new towel after cleaning your teeth.
2. How Do I Clean My Toothbrush If I Have COVID-19?
For individuals that test positive for COVID-19, one of their first concerns is how to protect anyone they live with from becoming sick. To keep your family members safe and healthy, it is important to be conscious of the potential contamination that can result from the objects you use.
The virus primarily spread through aerosol / droplets, making it crucial to pay attention to vulnerable surfaces it may have settled on.
Toothbrushes are at risk of contamination from bacteria, saliva, viruses, and droplets in the air (a great reason to avoid storing your toothbrush near a toilet!). Because the droplets that spread COVID-19 are in saliva, it is important to keep your toothbrush away from the toothbrushes of any members of your household.
You should never (even when COVID-19 is no longer a concern) share a toothbrush. To be extra cautious, use a separate toothpaste. When you recover, it is recommended to dispose of your old toothbrush and begin using a fresh one.
3. Diet and Lifestyle Tips During Self-Isolation
For so many people, self-isolating makes it tempting to spend long periods of time on the couch watching Netflix and snacking. However, it is important to take care of your health during this time and avoid the trap of excessive junk food and inactivity.
Here are some important, easy tips for staying healthy during COVID-19:
- Limit acidic and sugary foods.
- Avoid sugary drinks such as energy drinks, fruit juices, and soft drinks as they can damage your teeth.
- Try to avoid adding sugar to your coffee or tea.
- If you plan to take Vitamin C in hopes of boosting your immune system, choose a tablet or capsule form. Vitamin C supplements that are dissolved into fizzy drinks or chewed are harsh on tooth enamel.
- If your throat is sore, choose sugar-free cough drops if possible. Also, try to avoid letting a cough drop sit in your mouth too long (cavity-causing bacteria can feed on the sugar).
- Do not smoke
4. Stay Hydrated
Staying adequately hydrated is important for both your general and oral health, especially if you are not feeling well.
The body is more likely to lose fluids when fighting an infection, increasing your risk of becoming dehydrated or getting a dry mouth. Reduced saliva, which helps remove acid and food particles in the mouth, increases the chance of gingivitis and tooth decay.
Certain medications (i.e. decongestants, antihistamines) can also cause dry mouth, further increasing the need to stay adequately hydrated.
Water should always be your go-to choice for staying hydrated. If you need extra hydration and electrolytes, be sure to limit your consumption of sports drinks and choose sugar-free options. If you need a little inspiration for making water more appealing, we love these fun, healthy ideas for making water delicious.
Other Tips For Taking Care of Your Mental and Physical Health During Self-Isolation
Along with caring for your oral health during COVID-19, it is also crucial to look after your body and mind. Continuing your regular healthy habits will help limit stress and be an invaluable tool for staying positive.
If you are used to going to the gym to stay fit and are suddenly restricted to your home, here are some ideas for staying in-shape during quarantine:
- Turn on your favourite music and dance (better yet, get your kids involved for a family dance party)
- Take advantage of the many free online exercise videos on youtube and other sites
- Use an exercise DVD
- Do floor and bodyweight exercises that require minimal space and equipment (think planks, pushups, lunges, jumping jacks, squats, high knees, etc.)
- Try an online training/coaching plan
- Walk around your backyard
Even if your workouts are a little different or less intense than normal, even small amounts of exercise can provide a huge boost for your mental and physical state.
Be graceful on yourself during this time and celebrate any time you do commit to working out. It is okay if you need a little more time to rest and reflect than usual.
Stay Connected Yet Safe
Along with maintaining your oral health and physical health, socialising is another key factor to staying positive and doing well during this time. Stay in touch with family and friends through social media, letters, phone calls, and video chats.
Now is also a great time to take part in relaxing self-care activities such as:
- Gentle stretching every morning and before you go to bed at night
- Reading a book or listening to an audio-book
- Taking a long bath
- Taking on a new craft project or hobby
123 Dental Remains Open During the COVID-19 Pandemic
A special note on 6 month check-ups – we can now do checkup and cleans again however we can only use the traditional hand scalers under the current restrictions. But don’t worry, our wonderful hygienists can still clean your teeth as effectively!
Wishing You Health and Wellness
The health, safety, and well-being of our staff, patients and community is always our top priority. We are following advice and updates from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Australian government, and the Australian Dental Association (ADA) in regards to how to safely respond to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
If any of you (or anyone you know) is isolated at home and does not have access to help, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We would like to do all we can to support our wonderful patients and community during this difficult time.
We appreciate your understanding and support and we look forward to seeing all of our patients again once we move past this.