Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been suffering from a number of dental problems. Due to lack of research, it is not exactly clear whether coronavirus causes oral manifestations in people, there has been an increase in dental issues in the population.
Many scientists do believe that the mouth might be the most vulnerable area for the corona virus because of the abundance of ACE (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme) receptors in the mouth. This is the target receptor for the coronavirus.
Another reason for increased dental issues might include the closure of the non-essential services and irregular or no dental check ups, which have led to increasing severity of minor ailments that could have been easily cured if treated timely.
Given all these problems, it is even more essential that people maintain good oral hygiene during COVID-19. The next obvious question that comes to mind is “How to maintain oral hygiene during COVID-19?”
In this article, we will discuss about oral hygiene and COVID-19 and How to maintain oral hygiene during COVID-19.
Table of Contents :-
Feel free to skip ahead if one topic catches your eye:
- Brush regularly but not aggressively
- Avoid tobacco products
- Limit sugary foods and starches
- Practice good technique
- Clean and Disinfect your Toothbrush
1. Brush regularly but not aggressively
This is a no-brainer even when there is no pandemic going on. Brushing regularly is extremely important to maintain good oral hygiene. As we eat food throughout the day, food particles get stuck between the gaps of our teeth. Bacteria present in our oral cavity use these food particles as their energy source and break them down causing formation of other compounds like acids, etc.
These then form a layer of plaque over our teeth and provide a very good niche for harmful bacteria to grow that can cause harm to our teeth.
Regular brushing constantly removes this build up of plaque on the teeth and prevents accumulation of harmful bacteria.
People should brush their teeth 2 times in a day but there should not be any vigorous brushing. Brushing aggressively causes damage to the soft tissues around the teeth like gums which can cause them to bleed and injure.
2. Avoid tobacco products
Consumption of tobacco products is extremely harmful for the oral cavity. It causes a wide range of oral diseases in people ranging from severe problems like oral cancer to other periodontal diseases.
Smoking or tobacco products like chewing tobacco, pan masala, garda, khaini, etc have various adverse effects on the teeth and oral cavity.
Tobacco products decrease the immunity of the body which makes it harder for the body to fight the gum infections. It also makes it harder for the infected gums to heal. More so, the common treatment used for oral diseases might not work well for you if you consume tobacco.
3. Limit sugary foods and starches
Sugary food and starches are directly related to increased tooth decay. These are rapidly broken down into substances that form the plaque and accumulate bacteria on the teeth. This plaque can dissolve the enamel of the teeth, causing dental caries. These can be very painful once they reach the pulp of the teeth and can require RCT (Root Canal Treatment) or even extraction at times.
Sugary food and starches can even lead to many gum diseases like periodontitis. Which can rapidly spread if left untreated for long.
The best way to maintain oral hygiene is to decrease the sugar consumption and practice regular brushing habits. This prevents the accumulation of plaque over the teeth.
All this becomes even more important to maintain good oral hygiene during COVID-19 pandemic. Because the corona virus can cause more harm to the teeth and oral cavity if predisposing factors like these are already present in a person.
4. Practice good technique
Using the proper techniques for oral hygiene is very important to get the best results and also to prevent yourself from any injury. We will discuss what are proper techniques to ensure a good oral hygiene during COVID-19.
- Floss daily before brushing. This is important because your brush can not reach all the tiny gaps between your teeth and food particles may get stuck there. Flossing removes all these small food particles as well.
- Brush regularly. Using the correct brush and proper techniques is the best way to have good oral hygiene. Pick a brush with bristles that are neither too soft nor too hard. Hold the brush at 45 degrees angle and gently brush your teeth. Make sure to brush all the possible surfaces of teeth. And never forget to clean the upper part of your oral cavity and your tongue.
- Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash is not suitable for every person. These might sometimes end up killing the good bacteria of the mouth. Consult with your dentist and only use mouthwash if prescribed by them.
5. Clean and Disinfect your Toothbrush
Properly cleaning and disinfecting your toothbrush after every use is very important to prevent the growth of microbes on the brush. The wet brush can even catch the microbes floating around in the air and can be a good source of infection.
This is even more important for people who are suffering from COVID-19. The oral cavity is full of the corona virus and these will be transmitted to your brush. This can act as a source of infection for your family members as well if you share a washroom.
The easiest way to clean your toothbrush after every use is to pass it through warm water. This will help get rid of most microbes. After washing, place the toothbrush in an upright position in separate holders. Heads of different toothbrushes should never come in contact with each other as this can lead to spread of microbes from one brush to another.
Replace your toothbrush after every 6 months or use (or before if it is damaged).
This was a brief article explaining how to maintain oral hygiene during COVID-19. If you have any further doubts or are suffering from any disease of the oral cavity, contact a qualified professional who will be able to guide you better.
At Dr. Sahni’s Clinic, you will get the best suggestions and dental care for yourself and your family.