Looking After Your Dental Health During Prolonged ‘Lock Down’

Maintaining a good oral health regime during stay-at-home restrictions

Caring for teethAlthough it has not yet been officially announced, it is looking increasingly certain that the current lockdown due to the Covid-19 virus will be extended, perhaps for a few more weeks yet. This won’t be good news for many of us who might be struggling at this time, but we do encourage all patients of The Dental Centre Bedford to follow government advice in order to eventually defeat this very dangerous virus.

As you will know, all dental practices in the UK, including ourselves, are now closed and only urgent emergency advice can be offered. So we are not able to undertake even relatively minor dental procedures such as a minor toothache or a lost filling. It makes sense therefore, to do all that you can to keep your teeth and gums healthy at this time.

In today’s blog, we reiterate some of the essentials that you should do to help look after your teeth. Hopefully this will allow you to avoid problems that could make the lockdown period feel even longer than it is.

Brush and floss your teeth

This is something that you should be doing as a matter of course. Now though, offers a good opportunity to make sure that you are doing it as effectively as you can. The first thing to check is your toothbrush. If the bristles are looking worn down or if you know that it’s more than 3 months old, it needs to be replaced. Worn bristles will not remove bacteria and food as efficiently as firmer ones. If you are unable to change it now, or change the head of an electric one, please make sure to do so as soon as you reasonably can.

Secondly, please make sure that you are still brushing your teeth morning and night, despite inevitable changes to your routine. You may need to find a new regular ‘slot’ to brush your teeth, especially in the morning, but doing so will help to make sure that you don’t skip it by accident.

Thirdly, check how you are brushing. Some people still brush too quickly with the bristles flat to the surface of the tooth and then spit and rinse. This is not the correct way to do it unfortunately.

Firstly, you should brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes, making sure to angle the brush bristles towards the gums so that bacteria is cleaned from beneath the gum line. There is no need to do this hard, in fact doing so can wear down the enamel. A gentle brushing should be sufficient. Finally, you should spit and then avoid rinsing your mouth with water afterwards. This enables the fluoride to strengthen your teeth more effectively than if you swill it away immediately.

Fourthly, use dental floss. If you don’t already do this, perhaps practice by using educational videos to learn how to do it correctly. Far too few people do this but it is beneficial for removing food and bacteria that have become trapped between the teeth and in the gums.

Be mindful of what you eat

As we adjust to this new ‘normality’, we might feel stressed, anxious or just plain bored. All of these can cause us to seek comfort in eating less than healthy foods. Sugary foods especially are harmful to your teeth and should be moderated where possible.

We know that this is a difficult time and most of us will find our own ways to cope with it. We are not saying that you should avoid sugar altogether, but do try to keep it to a sensible level. The reality is that sugar doesn’t care if you are happy or anxious and it will still cause tooth decay whatever the situation.  Given that treatment may not be possible until we can open our practice safely again, it makes sense to avoid problems with your teeth and gums if at all possible.

For those of our Bedford patients who are receiving ongoing treatment, we know that this closure may be giving cause for concern. If you have any questions or if you are worried about anything connected to your oral health, please do call us. The same applies if an urgent dental emergency arises. Your first step should be to call The Dental Centre Bedford on 01234 819868 where you will be offered advice on what steps to take next.

Remember that the Easter period will be critical in helping to defeat Coronavirus. So please stay in and follow the government guidelines.