London based dentist Dr Gurpreet Sachdeva shares five ways to stay on top of your oral hygiene during lockdown.
We’ve all cautiously been forced to adopt a new normal and, understandably during this pandemic, there is already a lot of worry surrounding our health and wellbeing.
With dental practices closed for the foreseeable future and only the emergency hubs seeing emergency patients in pain only, it can be a worrying time, especially if you’ve suffered with serious dental ailments in the past. With this limited resource it is all the more important to take excellent care of your oral health and be prepared for the worst.
Most people usually breeze through their brushing on autopilot, but now is the time to be more attentive; your mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body, which means a healthier mouth can mean a healthier you. We spoke to Dr Gurpreet Sachdeva, who shares his top tips to stay on top of your oral hygiene every day and especially during lockdown.
Replace your toothbrush regularly
Your toothbrush can pick up a whole host of germs, saliva and blood, therefore you should never share it with anyone. It is advisable to change your toothbrush every two to three months and always replace your toothbrush (or toothbrush head if you own an electronic one) when you’ve been unwell.
It is important to keep your toothbrush isolated, in a clean area, to avoid it being in contact with other toothbrushes, or aerosols produced in the bathrooms (flush!) to minimise transference of bacteria/bugs and not just viruses, like Covid-19. Anything you handle before putting it near your mouth should only belong to you, and it may also be sensible to have your own toothpaste, to reduce the risk of spread.
Clean your tongue
Your tongue is the largest muscle in your mouth, made up of many crypts, cracks and irregular surfaces – making it an ideal site for bacteria/bugs to grow. It may be worth investing in a tongue scraper to add to your collection of brushes, rinses and pastes to keep your mouth clean. Tongue cleaning works by reducing the bacterial load in your mouth and also reduces oral malodour caused by the tongue coating.
Watch what you eat
To avoid any unpleasant surprises during this time, avoid sticky and chewy things like toffees, which can aggravate sensitivity of teeth, and also risk the lifting off of compromised crowns and fillings.
Our teeth are not designed to be attacked by acid more than three times a day. Whilst it may not create huge cavities in a few weeks; fruits, juices, sweets and smoothies can change the chemistry of the mouth, increasing the likelihood for the start of decay which can cause sensitivity or dental pain.
With the current climate, there is a lot of uncertainty at the moment, which can exacerbate stress. Stress can lead to an increase in the frequency and/or force of clenching teeth, resulting in muscle pain and breaking heavily filled teeth. Try to find some time to relax, enjoy the weather, do some facial muscle massages and try to switch off from the news for a while.
Be ready for an emergency
With face to face dental appointments suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, it would be sensible to have painkillers at home in case you do develop dental pain. Paracetamol, Co-codamol and Ibuprofen (if not displaying covid-19 symptoms) are all effective painkillers to alleviate common dental problems.
Due to the uncertainty of knowing when dentists will be able to resume providing routine dental treatment, it would be advised to purchase a temporary filling dental kit available from most supermarkets and pharmacies to temporarily replace broken fillings or cement any dislodged crown.
Follow Dr Gurpreet Sachdeva on Instagram – @dr.gurpssachdeva