We hope you and your loved ones are healthy and well during these trying times of uncertainty. As we long to see your smile back at City Dental Center, and continue to strive for excellence in patient care, the health and safety of our City Dental Center Team members, our patients, and our guests, remains our highest priority. We are hard at work implementing new protocols and best practices during this pandemic, so that once you are able to schedule your next appointment, you are well protected and safe to do so.
As you stay home and help curb the spread of COVID-19, you are adjusting to new life routines. On a long list of changes, you are avoiding non-urgent doctor visits and that includes your dentist. While oral hygiene may not be on top of your mind right now, a healthy immune system is critical during a pandemic and your mouth is a gateway for viruses and bacteria to enter your body. Keeping your mouth in tip top shape frees your immune system to fight off other sicknesses as needed. To ensure you maintain a healthy smile while you stay home, we have put together The Ultimate Guide to Dental Care During COVID-19 so you can brush up on the basics and implement some additional precautions during this pandemic:
1. Properly clean your teeth, tongue, and gums
One of the best ways to keep your mouth in good shape is maintaining a good oral hygiene routine. Following these simple steps can help you maintain a healthy smile and prevent problems:
• Brush your teeth twice a day when you wake up, before going to sleep or after every meal
• Floss your teeth at least once every day
• Gently brush your tongue to prevent plaque build up
• Switch to an electric toothbrush if possible
• Gargle with mouth rinse to kill bacteria and remove plaque
Notably during this pandemic, iodine and hydrogen peroxide oral rinses have also shown effective viricidal activity.
2. Watch what you eat
Have you ever had a popcorn kernel stuck in your gum? Or hurt your tooth from chewing a hard candy? These would be unfortunate scenarios during the shelter in place, so think twice before eating something that may get easily stuck in your teeth. You should stock up on nutritious foods. Your teeth especially benefit from leafy greens as they are rich in fiber and vitamins and items that are high in calcium and protein such as low-sugar yogurt. Try to limit your consumption of sweets and acidic beverages as they can cause tooth decay.
3. Stay hydrated
Good hydration is an essential part of oral health. Drink plenty of water to help strengthen your enamel. It helps rinse away harmful bacteria and acid and may ease dry mouth, which can cause gum disease and tooth decay.
4. Resist bad stress habits
It’s a scary and uncertain time right now. Everyone manages stress in different ways and certain coping mechanisms like smoking or drinking alcohol can be harmful. Smoking increases your risk for gum infections, and drinking alcohol dries out cheeks and gums. Additionally, chewing pen caps or fingernails can cause teeth to chip or break. Be extra thoughtful about how you choose to relieve stress to avoid a potential emergency.
5. Freshen your toothbrush
Toothbrushes can potentially harbor bacteria and viruses. Before and after use, rinse the bristles under warm water and let it dry standing upright without touching the heads of other toothbrushes. If you are concerned about the cleanliness of your toothbrush or if you have just been sick, you can disinfect it by soaking it in 1% hydrogen peroxide (1 part store bought 3% hydrogen peroxide and 2 parts water) for 30 seconds or you can replace it.
6. Keep over-the-counter pain relievers on hand
In case a toothache or swollen gums develop, it’s always a good idea to be prepared with over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen to temporarily ease symptoms while you wait to hear from us.
7. Text or call us
If you do experience a dental problem or emergency, we are still here for you. We are still communicating with patients through texts, phone calls, and emails. Reach out to us to see how we can help answer your questions.
Keeping your mouth healthy is incredibly important and there’s an additional level of care to follow if you’re a candidate for dental implants.
When you can again safely schedule an appointment, we will look at the entire picture of your health to ensure the dental implant procedure will be a success. Here are 5 good habits to build right now:
1. Brush your teeth twice daily for a full two minutes each time.
2. Floss at least once a day. If there is enough space between your teeth, an interdental brush is recommended. Soft-picks can also be used when the space between the teeth is smaller.
3. Switch to an electric toothbrush if possible.
4. Use antibacterial mouthwash. This helps prevent bacteria from growing and reduce any inflammatory reaction in the mouth.
5. Commit to stop smoking or chewing tobacco to prepare for the procedure.
If you recently received dental implants, we are still available to ensure you’re healing well, even if you had to cancel a follow-up appointment.
As with any dental procedure, you may have some discomfort during healing. Side effects that are normal and expected include:
• Swelling around the gums and in your face
• Slight bruising
• Pain at the implant site
• Minor bleeding
There are also steps you can take to increase the success of your dental implants:
• Avoid eating hard foods
• Take pain medication and antibiotics (when prescribed)
• Keep your teeth, gums, and dental work clean brushing twice a day and flossing once a day
• Commit to stop smoking and chewing tobacco while healing
If at any time during the healing process you find that issues are getting worse or are causing increased discomfort, contact us right away to make sure the problems don’t persist.