Has your dental appointment gotten postponed due to the coronavirus or quarantine? While it’s been a few months since businesses opened back up after the initial coronavirus shut-down that took place earlier this year, current COVID-19 numbers indicate that thousands of patients across the Raleigh-Durham area could be quarantined due to a recent positive test result. As such, it’s quite possible that even though we’re open, you could miss your scheduled dental appointment.
We all agree that having your teeth professionally cleaned is important, but being under quarantine is serious business. We certainly don’t want you to come into our office for a professional cleaning if you’ve tested positive for the coronavirus. However, just because you can’t see your favorite female dentist in Raleigh doesn’t mean that you should put your at-home dental care on pause. In fact, if you’re currently under quarantine, it’s especially important to keep up your dental hygiene routine. With that in mind, today we’ll discuss x ways to keep a healthy smile during quarantine.
1. Keep Brushing Your Teeth
As a general rule, you should brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. However, if you’ve been spending most of your days at home, or you’re quarantining for 10 days, then it’s possible that you’re indulging a little more than usual. As such, you should brush your teeth after every meal if you want to keep a healthy smile during quarantine.
If you or your kids haven’t been brushing as regularly as you should (we get it, it’s easy to get lazy when you’re laying around in your pajamas all day), now is also a great time to jumpstart your dental routine. You can make brushing your teeth a little more fun by adding music or a video. We particularly love all the toothbrush timer songs that are available on Youtube. Just pull it up on your phone while you brush and you’ll meet your two-minute requirement.
2. Don’t Forget to Floss Your Teeth
On a similar note, don’t forget to floss your teeth at least once a day, especially if you’re under quarantine. In fact, we’ve found that all of this time at home has provided the perfect opportunity to form good habits such as flossing your teeth every day. If you can start flossing once a day while quarantining, then it’ll quickly become part of your daily dental hygiene routine.
3. Replace Your Toothbrush
While we’re on the subject of brushing and flossing your teeth. If you haven’t replaced your toothbrush since the start of the pandemic, drop what you’re doing and go to the store (don’t forget your mask!). During your professional dental cleaning, we will give you a new toothbrush; but those toothbrushes are only meant to be used for 3-4 months (or less if the bristles get frayed). If you have your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year, you should plan to get at least two more toothbrushes during the year per person.
If you or a family member have been sick (coronavirus or otherwise), you should also plan to replace your toothbrush to reduce the chance of getting sick again.
4. Drink More Water
Much like brushing and flossing your teeth, drinking plenty of water is a great habit to add to your dental hygiene routine if you aren’t drinking water already. Water not only helps wash away harmful bacteria and keep you hydrated to produce saliva, but it also contains fluoride which is essential for your oral health.
5. Add These Foods/Drinks/Supplements to Your Diet
We’ll talk about foods you should avoid in a moment, but if you want to keep a healthy smile during quarantine, we recommend adding these foods, drinks, and supplements to your diet.
- Basil is a natural antibiotic and is the perfect seasoning for many holiday dishes.
- Broccoli may not be your kids’ favorite vegetable, but it can form an acid-resistant film on your teeth to prevent enamel erosion.
- Carrots are a great source of Vitamin A, which is awesome for your enamel and helps cleanse and stimulate your gums.
- Too much cheese could pose consequences, but a taste here and there offers lactic acid to prevent tooth decay.
- Celery can activates saliva production and tastes really yummy with ranch dressing.
- Ginger acts as an anti-inflammatory.
- Green tea contains catechin, an antioxidant that reduces gingivitis-causing bacteria. A study also recently found that the chemical compounds in green tea can block the key enzyme that allows the replication of the coronavirus.
- Kale is high in minerals that support tooth structure.
- Onions may cause a case of bad breath, but they can also reduce certain bacteria that causes tooth decay.
- Pineapple is not only delicious but it also produces saliva and promotes a healing alkaline response in your mouth.
- Salmon is a great source of Vitamin D.
- Strawberries (even covered in chocolate) work as natural scrubbers for your teeth. They are also high in fiber and Vitamin C, which are both great for gum health.
- Xylitol gum or mints helps prevent tooth decay and cavities. They also will make your breath smell nice.
6. Avoid These Foods and Drinks Entirely!
In contrast to our point above, if you are quarantining, you should avoid these foods and drinks. Actually, you should avoid these foods and drinks as much as possible any time of the year, but especially now as consuming them can lead to a dental emergency.
- While citrus is a great source of Vitamin C, citrusy foods also contain acids that break down your enamel. Therefore eat and drink citrus in moderation.
- Dried fruits are quite common during the holidays, but the sticky texture has a tendency to get stuck on your teeth and leaves behind a lot of sugar. If you must indulge in dried fruit, be sure to brush your teeth afterward.
- Sticky or sour candy has the same effect as dried fruit and often gets stuck in between teeth. While we find that our adult patients do a decent job of flossing in between teeth, we also find that children do not. Those little touches of sugar can quickly become cavities.
- Bread and potato chips (all the carbs) are so comforting when you’re home quarantining or just home for the holidays. Unfortunately, your mouth turns these starches into sugar, which easily gets stuck between your teeth and causes cavities. It’s unlikely that you’ll completely avoid bread or potato chips, but be careful to brush and floss out anything that may get stuck between your teeth.
- Soda (including diet) is pretty bad for you in general. As it relates to your teeth, soda contains extremely high levels of acid, which damages your enamel.
- Alcohol is also not great for you. Drinking any alcohol can dry out your mouth and reduce the amount of saliva you produce which leads to decay. But, it’s unrealistic to think that our patients would go without a drink during the holidays or to survive quarantine. So, if you’re going to have a drink, be sure to follow with water.
- Chewing on ice is so satisfying, but it can also result in chipped or broken teeth which you want to avoid any time of year, but especially if you’re quarantining. If you must chew on ice, try to get the little pebble ice rather than big chunks of ice.
Quarantine is Temporary
All of that said, remember that this pandemic will not last forever (even if it feels that way). Staying at home will soon be a memory. BUT, you still need your teeth, so take care of them. If you’re quarantining and need to postpone your next dental appointment, use these tips to keep that smile healthy, and when you’re well again, we look forward to seeing you.
Learn more about the complete list of services offered by Dr. Garrett by calling our office and scheduling a new patient appointment. We’d love to make your family part of ours!