Taking Care Of Your Teeth & Gums Whilst In ‘Lockdown’

Our Addlestone dentists offer some useful advice to help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Personal oral care flossingIt has been 3 weeks now, and to some of us it will likely have felt like a lot longer! The current lockdown brings different challenges for different people, with some struggling with it more than others.

All the evidence though appears to point to our imposed semi isolation starting to work, with hospital and fatality figures expected to decrease over the coming weeks. Although it has yet to be announced, it now seems likely that this lockdown period will be extended for a few more weeks at least, in this lengthy battle to defeat the Coronavirus.

As patients will be aware, the Synergy Clinic is currently closed, and will be until such a time that we are allowed to open again. At the moment, we do not know when this will be but we hope to offer our dental services once again as soon as possible.

This unexpected closure will mean that some patients will not have their twice yearly check up at the usual six monthly interval. This means that any problems that are taking place with the teeth and gums may not be detected for much longer, with the possibility of issues such as tooth decay more likely.

It is in the patient’s interest to put extra focus on looking after their teeth and gums at this time so that these problems can be avoided as far as possible. Bear in mind that we are currently unable to carry out any minor procedures such as restoring a lost filling or to treat a minor toothache. Only urgent dental emergency advice can be given at this time.

To help our patients maintain a healthy mouth until we open again, here are a few essential tips.

Brush and floss

Most of us brush our teeth in the morning and the last thing at night. The latter brushing may not have changed radically, but with many of us now working from home or not working at all, our ‘time slot’ for brushing our teeth in the morning may well have changed. It is important to build a new, if temporary, routine in the morning and we recommend that you continue to brush your teeth at the same time each day.

It’s also a good time to look at how you brush your teeth. First of all, make sure your brush is in good condition and that the bristles aren’t worn. If they are or the brush, or brush head, is over 3 months old, you should change it. You should also change it if either yourself or a household member who uses the same bathroom has had, or suspects they may have had the Covid-19 virus. This will help to prevent further infection of family members.

When you brush your teeth, do so gently, rather than brushing hard. Too much pressure can damage the enamel and increase tooth sensitivity and decay. Make sure also to angle the bristles of the brush towards your gums. This allows them to reach just below the gum line and remove tiny particles of food and bacteria that might contribute to decay and gum disease.

If you don’t currently use dental floss, please consider taking the time to learn how. If there is one single thing that most people could do to improve their oral health it would be to add flossing to their daily regime. Decay and gum disease often starts in the spaces between the teeth where our brushes find it difficult to reach. So if you are bored, sitting at home on the sofa, perhaps use the time to find a reputable flossing instruction video and practice. Once you have mastered the technique, it only takes a minute or two each day to do and is very beneficial for your oral health.

Mind what you eat

Whether we are going to the shops ourselves or receiving online deliveries, there is always the temptation to ‘treat’ ourselves to something that makes us feel good. Very often this will be a comfort food that contains high quantities of sugar, whether in the form of cake or chocolate. We all know that sugar is a leading cause of tooth decay and whilst it is understandable that we want to eat such foods to help us through this difficult time, the reality is that whatever the reason, good or bad, sugar will damage your teeth and has no sympathy for your situation.

As we mentioned earlier, our Addlestone dental practice is closed until further notice and problems such as a minor toothache cannot be treated unfortunately. Even a small and niggling toothache can make each day feel even longer than it currently is, likely making the remaining time in lockdown even more distressing.

By all means, have the occasional piece of chocolate or a sweet or two; after all, we have all earned it! Try to do this in moderation though and preferably at a time when you will be brushing your teeth a little later so that there is no damage caused.

With a little care and perhaps a bit of luck, we hope that our patients manage to avoid any distress caused by dental problems whilst we are closed. In the event that you do suffer a significant problem, you should still call the Synergy Clinic on 01932 856541 where you will be triaged and offered further advice on what to do next. Please keep safe!