During this time of physical distancing and with non-essential services closed, many of you are most likely missing your regularly scheduled visit to the dental hygienist. Dental offices are able to provide emergency dental care, however, they’ve suspended regular preventive oral health care, which is so important to the maintenance of a healthy mouth. This care is critical for preventing oral diseases such as cavities and gingivitis.
Here are a few tips from Anne-Marie Conaghan, Co-Ordinator of Georgian’s Dental Hygiene program, on how you can help maintain your oral health at home.
1. Yes, I’m going to say it…floss your teeth!
It’s important to clean in between the teeth where gum disease can start. The good news is there are easy-to-use aides on the market that you can try instead of the traditional floss that some may have difficulty working with. An example of one of these aides is the floss pick. It’s usually available in both common generic brands and more popular trade names – both will work. They’re also great for kids who might not have the manual dexterity to use floss.
Here’s a quick video showing the proper flossing technique.
2. Does your toothbrush look like this?
If so, it’s time to replace it! This goes for the brushes on power toothbrushes as well. Many of us are used to receiving a new toothbrush when we visit the dental hygienist, who makes the proper brush recommendation based on your needs. Don’t let this happen to you! These worn-out brushes can easily sneak up on you. Also, remember to brush twice a day!
3. Try to keep your sugar intake low.
Home offices can be a lot closer to the kitchen, which may result in more frequent snacking. If you must snack, make sure you choose items that contain little to no sugar or refined carbohydrates. These will contribute to cavities, even in adults. Frequent or constant ingestion of food throughout the day due to snacking, including sipping cups of coffee and tea sweetened with sugar, will make one more prone to cavities. It’s better for cavity prevention to have your meals at a designated time. If you do snack, try to brush afterward or at least take a drink of water. Crunchy vegetables, nuts, cheese and plain yogurt make great tooth-friendly snacks!
4. For added protection, be sure to use a fluoridated toothpaste to help prevent cavities.
You can also use an approved antiseptic mouth rinse to help prevent gingivitis.
5. Rebook those dental hygiene appointments.
Be sure to rebook an appointment with your dental hygienist once dental offices open again and all those masks and gloves are back in stock. You will probably see some changes in the personal protective equipment worn, and heightened measures for infection prevention and control throughout the office.
Georgian College Oral Health Clinic
The Georgian College Oral Health Clinic provides preventive and therapeutic oral health services at a reduced cost. Students gain valuable practical experience with clients under the guidance of experienced professionals. The clinic website will be updated when more information is available on the anticipated re-opening.
As we continue to navigate this challenging and unprecedented time, it’s important to make sure we take care of our mental health too. Check out these helpful tips.