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At-Home Oral Care Tips During COVID-19

First and foremost, Dr. Colin Morton and our entire team hope you and yours are staying safe and healthy during this unprecedented time. As our state has been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, our hearts and thoughts go out to all those affected—whether physically, emotionally, or both.

Although our practice is temporarily closed for routine dental care as we follow governmental advice, we never stop caring about the oral wellness of our patients! As a result, we’ve come up with the following at-home oral care tips that can help keep your teeth and gums healthy and clean until shelter-in-place directives are lifted and you can once again visit the dentist:

  • Brush at least twice daily, and clean between the teeth a minimum of once per day. You’ve almost certainly heard this advice before, but it really is important—regular brushing and intra-tooth cleaning (e.g. flossing) can help limit plaque and bacterial buildup in the mouth, ultimately reducing the risk of cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, and other serious dental issues.
  • Brush with the proper technique, and know when it’s time to change toothbrushes (or brush heads). It’s typically best to gently brush your teeth in a circular motion, ensuring to spend adequate time on all surfaces—as well as the gumline and tongue. Once you notice the bristles of your brush have begun to fray or angle irregularly, it is likely time to change to a new toothbrush (or brush head, if you’re using an electric or battery-powered toothbrush).
  • Keep your toothbrush clean. This may sound obvious, but it’s worth noting that toothbrushes should always be rinsed with water after use, as well as ideally stored in an upright position without touching anything else to allow for uncontaminated air-drying. Brushes that are touching one another and/or housed in a closed compartment of some sort have the tendency to grow more bacteria, yeast, and possibly even mold.
  • Rinse with an alcohol-free mouthwash a couple times a day. Similarly to daily brushing and flossing, regular mouthwash rinses can help minimize the accumulation of plaque-causing bacteria, therefore aiding in the prevention of various detrimental dental conditions. The reason we say alcohol-free is because alcohol and certain kinds of antibacterial ingredients could have a negative effect on the immune system of some individuals, so it’s best to play things safe until Dr. Morton can provide personalized recommendations in person.
  • Drink lots of water and be mindful of what you consume. Hydration is key for optimal oral wellness, particularly due to its impact on the production of saliva, which is essential for helping to wash away food particles, maintain soft tissue health, and prevent excess bacterial accumulation in the mouth. As much as possible, it is also a good idea to avoid foods and drinks that are overly sugary due to the link between sugar and tooth decay—as well as refrain from biting down on hard candies or fruits that contain pits, as doing so can lead to extensive dental damage that may require immediate attention.

Of course, eating a nutritious diet and getting regular exercise (if you are cleared to do so by your primary care physician) is always a great idea during this time—after all, oral health and full body wellness are intrinsically connected.

We hope that you find these oral care tips helpful as you stay at home to do your part in weathering the COVID-19 storm, and we look forward to the near future when we can see the beautiful smiles of our patients at our practice once again. Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay positive!

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