The COVID-19 pandemic and its ensuing lockdowns have brought about widespread change in our daily lifestyles. These changes affect various aspects of our lives in many different ways, not only in relation to our physical health and mental well-being, but our oral health as well.
While some dental issues cannot be avoided, such as situations like accidental trauma that require you to seek emergency dental services, there are several ways that you can take care of your teeth while the lockdown continues. As you will see below, being in lockdown can bring about new factors that may require you to pay extra attention to your oral health. Therefore, here are some helpful family dental care tips that you can pick up for yourself and your loved ones too.
1 – Understand that stress can affect your teeth
Being in lockdown can be a stressful situation. In addition to the general anxiety caused by the ongoing pandemic, many Australians have to adjust to unfamiliar experiences like new working conditions and staying indoors over an extended period of time. But how does stress affect your teeth?
Well, stress impacts every system of our body, and our teeth are no exception. People who are very stressed may find themselves with dental problems like teeth grinding, dry mouth, oral canker sores, or jaw joint pain. Research has shown that stress can even weaken the body’s immunity and render it susceptible to infections that can lead to gum disease.
While it is not easy to control your stress levels at all times, you can make small changes throughout your day to help improve your mental state overall. Getting enough exercise and having adequate sleep can help you feel better and less stressed. With all the time spent at home, you could also pick up a new hobby for fun.
2 – Drink more water
You should be drinking more than the commonly recommended 8 glasses of water a day during lockdown. Drinking enough water can help combat bad breath and also lessens the effects of stress and anxiety, which helps to prevent the related dental issues outlined above. Moreover, drinking water between meals can help remove any food that may be trapped between your teeth after eating. Drinking water also has the added benefit of increasing salivary flow, which is proven to be your body’s natural resistance against tooth decay and removes food debris, too.
When keeping track of how many glasses of water you are drinking each day, do make sure that it is plain water that you are consuming. While fizzy or flavoured drinks can be enjoyed in moderation, you should not be making a habit of substituting flavoured drinks for water.
3 – Watch your diet
A survey conducted by the Heart Foundation has shown that 29% of Australians in lockdown were eating more to relieve stress and boredom. 26% of those surveyed were eating more desserts and nearly a quarter were snacking more than their usual habits. While it is understandable that the lockdown can contribute to less-than-ideal eating patterns, you should still try your best not to go overboard with the sugary snacks and sweets.
Depending on the nature of the snacks, they can affect the mineral of your teeth. For example, snacks containing sugars and carbohydrates could create a more acidic environment in your mouth. This in turn favours demineralisation – where minerals are removed from the surface of your teeth. What you can do to combat this is incorporate some healthier options the next time you feel the urge to snack. Limit snacking to specific times of the day if possible, rather than snacking throughout the whole day.
4 – Don’t forget the basics
During lockdown, do not feel too badly about yourself if you are experiencing a low mood or are having trouble adjusting. However, you should try your best to look after yourself as much as you can and this includes remembering the basics of oral hygiene. It is also a good time to check that your little ones are practising good dental habits as well.
Make sure that you are brushing your teeth at least twice daily using the correct techniques, and that you are using the type of toothbrush or toothpaste that best addresses any ongoing dental conditions as recommended by your dentist. Now that you are at home more, you can also find more time to incorporate better dental habits such as regular flossing into your daily routine.
5 – Talk to your dentist
Are you having dental issues in the midst of lockdown? While your first instinct may be to try home remedies or hope for the best due to pandemic restrictions, cases of ongoing tooth pain or suspected infection for example should and must be treated by a dental health professional. If you are facing a dental emergency or have any worries about your oral health, do not hesitate to call your family dentist to ask about coming in for an appointment.
You can get in touch with us at Blackburn Family Dental Care and we will be more than happy to assist you with any enquiries that you may have. Our family dental clinic has been in practice since 1953 and our team of experienced practitioners are ready to provide you with the best dental care.