How do you take care of your teeth during COVID-19?
You’ve all been following the latest updates regarding the state of our country during COVID-19 and its impact on our communities, neighbourhoods and families. As this has been a stressful and uncertain time, you may not be able to check-in with your dentist for routine dental procedures, or you might be extra concerned about seeking assistance for dental emergencies.
Prevent non-emergency dental disorders
Over 600 medications, such as diuretics and antihistamines, nutritional deficiencies, and natural hormonal changes can cause dry mouth. Keep your mouth moist by drinking plenty of water and chewing on sugarless gum.
Drinking a large number of acidic beverages, such as carbonated drinks like soda, brushing your tongue too much, and overusing your mouthwash can irritate mouth tissues. Try drinking fewer acidic drinks.
Your daily oral hygiene routine should include brushing your teeth twice a day and using dental floss at least once a day. If your gums bleed while you are flossing, this could be a sign of swelling and gum infection or periodontal disease. It may help to use mouthwash to rinse in order to reduce germs or rinse with warm salt water if your gums are sore. If pain or bleeding persists, please consult your dentist.
Bleeding gums are a key sign of gum problems. The good news is that gum problems are usually reversible with a good oral hygiene routine. Treating gingivitis is as easy as brushing, flossing and having professional check-ups and cleanings. Using mouthwash in addition to proper brushing and flossing habits can also be effective at reducing gum problems.
Some types of plaque can cause tooth cavities, while others cause gum problems. To prevent plaque from building up, ensure you floss regularly to remove germs and food pieces stuck between your teeth. Mouthwash has also effective at reducing plaque build-up. Brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes with fluoride toothpaste, and don’t forget to brush your tongue!
What constitutes a dental emergency?
According to the ADA, a dental emergency is one that is potentially life-threatening and requires immediate treatment for:
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Germ infection that could compromise the patient’s airway
- Trauma involving facial bones, potentially compromising the patient’s airway
We understand that different government and local responses to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic can make people unsure of what qualifies as urgent dental care or a dental emergency. Here are some instances where you should contact your dentist immediately:
- If a large piece of the tooth or the total tooth is missing
- If nerve damage is apparent, such as a feeling of numbness
- If you are showing signs of an abscess or infection (pain, swelling, hot to touch and redness)
- If you suspect that you or someone else has a broken jaw
- If you’ve had a recent root canal and are worried about the level of pain.
- We hope these tips are helpful, so you can take the best care of yourself and each other.
Should I go to the dentist during the COVID-19 outbreak?
No, only visit your dentist in the case of an emergency. Looking for coronavirus dental care tips? You can call your dentist to help assess whether your dental ailment falls into an urgent or emergency category. Even if your dentist’s office is closed, there may be an emergency number or contact instructions available on their voicemail message. Below, we provide some tips on managing non-emergency dental ailments to better help you care for your teeth safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
Visit https://www.affinitydental.co.za/ to check your Affinity Dental benefits, and call us on 0861 55 55 22 for pre-authorisation whenever you need to consult a dentist.
This article is intended to promote understanding and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.