Vaccines are well underway, but after a year of being in “lock-down” mode, your Raleigh dentist has started noticing a few issues. According to the CDC, more than a quarter of adults in the United States are living with untreated tooth decay, while nearly half of all adults over the age of 30 are showing signs of gum disease. Furthermore, the New Surgeon General reports that over the past year, nearly 1 in 4 adults are reporting pain in or around their mouth. And yet, the pandemic has forced many Americans to put off their dental visits.
Having been open for business for months now, we can tell you that our practice is doing everything we can to make your dental appointment safe. That said, today we’ll discuss a few lessons your Raleigh Dentist has learned about dental care during the pandemic, and what you need to know before your next appointment.
1. It’s more important than ever to follow an oral hygiene routine at home
With so many dentists (including your Raleigh dentist) being forced to close their doors in the early days of Covid-19, we’ve found that brushing and flossing have become even more important to maintaining your oral hygiene in between dental check-ups. While the threats of plaque and cavity formation are always present, you can generally control the formation of plaque and tartar by brushing your teeth twice a day (really cleaning all of the surfaces of your teeth and gums) with fluoride toothpaste and flossing every day. You can further protect yourself by using an electric toothbrush which tends to be more effective at cleaning teeth and gums as opposed to manual toothbrushes.
2. Pay attention to what you’re eating and drinking
In addition to brushing and flossing, another way to maintain your oral health in between dental checkups is to avoid unhealthy foods. In particular, your Raleigh dentist encourages you to limit the amount of sugar you consume, along with other carbohydrate-containing foods and drinks including sodas, fruit juice, coffee, tea, and candy. While you certainly don’t have to stop enjoying your favorite “cup of joe,” avoiding hard or sticky foods can help prevent cavities and extensive dental work.
3. Mental health impacts your oral health
On a similar note, we’ve found that the psychological impact of Covid-19 is contributing to a lot of oral health issues. For example, more time at home and fears of getting sick has created an increase in anxiety levels which has been linked to bruxism (clenching of the jaw or grinding of teeth). To manage stress, some people are using tobacco or alcohol, which are also not great for your teeth. Others are “eating their feelings” by eating unhealthy foods which can lead to problems such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (also known as GERD), which can also damage your teeth.
Still, others have started taking prescription medication for depression and anxiety. While very useful in treating your mental health, these prescriptions may cause side effects such as dry mouth, which can be damaging to your oral health. Be sure to tell your Raleigh dentist if you’ve started taking any new medications since the start of the pandemic.
4. There are still dental emergencies, even during a pandemic
While a regularly scheduled dental cleaning can be rescheduled for a later date, we’ve found that Covid-19 didn’t stop dental emergencies from occurring. Accidents still happen and oral pain of any kind shouldn’t be ignored. As such, if you’re experiencing oral pain, don’t wait until your next appointment. Give us a call so that we can make sure that you don’t have a serious infection.
The same goes for broken teeth or loose dental work. Give us a call so that we can see you as soon as possible. In the meantime, continue cleaning your teeth as best you can without causing further disruption. For example, if you have a loose crown, you should still brush and floss around the area. If it comes out, we can fix it when you come into the office.
Be sure to visit your Raleigh dentist regularly to prevent serious dental problems from forming. If it’s been more than six months since you’ve seen the dentist, call Dr. Katherine E. Garrett and schedule your appointment. New patients are always welcome, and we are proud to provide dental care for your entire family. Don’t wait until you have a dental emergency, call our office today!