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Optimizing Oral Health During COVID-19: Navigating Dental Care & Safety Protocols

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  • Optimizing Oral Health During COVID-19: Navigating Dental Care & Safety Protocols
 Optimizing Oral Health During COVID-19: Navigating Dental Care & Safety Protocols

Is COVID-19 related to Oral Health Care issues?

Have you ever imagined that you would have to wear face masks to any place you go?

We are all facing the same challenges. This global pandemic has upended life all over the earth. There is a multitude of stressors vying for our attention that can cause anxiety and raise stress levels.

Currently, social distancing, the fear of catching a new strain of COVID- 19, or worse, unknowingly spreading the virus to the most vulnerable people, to name just a few concerns we all have. These are all genuine and stressful things we are facing.

We live in unprecedented times where our work life and social life are confined to our homes. As a result of this, self-grooming and personal hygiene are taking a backseat in our life. Self-grooming is optional. However, personal health is not optional.

The two pillars of personal health are physical and mental health. So, we must have optimum physical and mental health to have peak performance, high productivity, and success in life. Physical health further comprises systemic and oral health.

Oral health and systemic health are intertwined with each other; if there are oral health issues, it will compromise systemic health.

What is the role of oral health care in COVID-19?

Have you ever imagined that you would be working from home and homeschooling your kids too?

Have you ever imagined that you would have to wear face masks to any place you go?

We are all facing the same challenges. This global pandemic has upended life all over the earth. There is a multitude of stressors vying for our attention that can cause anxiety and raise stress levels. Currently, social distancing, the fear of catching a new strain of COVID- 19, or worse, unknowingly spreading the virus to the most vulnerable people, to name just a few concerns we all have. These are all genuine and stressful things we are facing.

We live in unprecedented times where our work life and social life are confined to our homes. As a result of this, self-grooming and personal hygiene are taking a backseat in our life. Self-grooming is optional. However, personal health is not optional.

The two pillars of personal health are physical and mental health. So, we must have optimum physical and mental health to have peak performance, high productivity, and success in life. Physical health further comprises systemic and oral health. oral health care and systemic health are intertwined with each other; if there are oral health issues, it will compromise systemic health.

How is COVID-19 affecting my oral health care?

With the incidence of the coronavirus pandemic and the regular flu season creeping up on us, we are resorting to using more lozenges or syrups and other medications to fight symptoms like sore throat or cough. Most of these lozenges (tablets), syrups, and medicines use alcohol and sugar. The alcohol or sugar used will have detrimental effects on your oral health  care, as they are acidic and would drop the pH of your oral cavity. The drop in pH would make your teeth more vulnerable to micro-organisms. As a result, you would suffer from bad breath, tooth decay, and other dental problems. This can be avoided by opting for alcohol or sugar-free options for the medications.

Can COVID-19 compromise my oral health care?

COVID-19 is a lethal strain of the virus that spreads by human-human contact. Data obtained worldwide helps us understand that this virus has unique abilities to penetrate through the oropharyngeal epithelial barrier, meaning via nose and mouth. Scientists predict that there will be an increase in oropharyngeal (mouth and nose) symptoms and conditions soon.

Additionally, medications used in treating COVID-19 have been associated with side effects like a dry mouth (due to reduced saliva production), mouth ulcers, burning mouth (stomatitis), and many more. Moreover, life-saving measures in intensive care units (ICU) like intubation, blood oxygenation, and artificial ventilation further compromise oral health care. Lack of proper oral care in patients causes hyposalivation, oral candidiasis, and other conditions. These conditions further lead to lower respiratory tract complications.

How will my oral health care impact COVID-19?

A study published in the British Journal emphasized the importance of good oral hygiene to reduce the risk of complications from COVID-191. Having excellent oral health would reduce the bacterial load (number of bacteria) in the mouth. This is especially important in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension, where patients are more prone to infections. Though COVID-19 is a viral infection, having uncontrolled bacterial overload in the mouth leads to complications like sepsis and death. Hence, it would help if you gave utmost importance to oral hygiene to reduce the risk of complications from COVID-19.  

How is my oral health care being impacted by wearing facial masks?

With the state laws making masks/ facial coverings mandatory to enter any store or organization, we are wearing face masks for a longer duration to protect ourselves from the pandemic. The entire dental society is recently witnessing an acceleration in the number of dental cavities due to mask-wearing. The masks are not directly related to cavities. However, saliva is directly related. When we wear face coverings/ masks, we tend to breathe through the mouth, causing our mouths to dry out and decrease salivary flow (hyposalivation). Saliva has cleansing properties and has immunity-boosting antibodies. During hyposalivation, our mouth and airway mucosal surfaces are more prone to infections due to the lack of protection from saliva.

What can I do to maintain my oral hygiene during this pandemic?

It’s important to remember that COVID-19 will end, but your oral function doesn’t have to break down. Brushing, flossing, rinsing, and maintaining a healthy diet is the first defense in keeping all your body systems running in peak condition.

Some of the essential tips to enhance oral health are

1) Be conscious of what you are eating. During this stressful situation, many of us resort to consuming comfort foods like carbonated drinks, chips, potato chips, sugared candies, and other sugared beverages. These foods harm our oral and systemic health.

2) Practicing an excellent oral hygiene regimen – Oral hygiene regimen includes brushing and flossing twice a day and rinsing as frequently as possible. This helps prevent plaque build-up and reduce the concentration of bacteria and, thus, are effective preventive measures.

3) Use an electric brush – Electric brushes generate more vibrational and rotational movements than conventional brushes and effectively remove plaque.

4) Cleaning and changing your toothbrush regularly – Keep our toothbrushes, floss, and tongue scraper well covered and clean. We can clean our toothbrush by steeping in a solution of mouthwash and hydrogen peroxide to remove any microbes from the bristles’ surface.

5) Hydrating – We cannot stress enough about the importance of hydration. Hydrating helps in keeping the salivary flow constant and cleans away building debris in the oral cavity.

6) Avoid Smoking and Drinking – Smoking reduces blood supply to our gums, and alcohol dehydrates tissues in our oral cavity. Both are detrimental to our oral and systemic health. So, it is best to refrain from these activities.

7) Trust the dental team – Our dental team is always striving to ensure your well-being. So, have trust in us, contact us, and schedule your appointments for our expert opinion.

Having Oral Health Care issues? Dr. Adatrow can help!

If you have any oral health care issues, you can schedule a consultation with Dr. Adatrow. Dr. Adatrow has dental implants and TMJ expertise of nearly two decades and can provide you with the best dental treatment. Please contact our office to schedule your consultation.

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Advanced Dental Implant and TMJ Center provides personalized and specialized care and sedation dentistry in Memphis TN, Germantown TN, Collierville TN, Bartlett TN, Cordova TN, West Memphis AR, Marion AR, Forest City AR, Brinkley AR, Southaven MS, Olive Branch MS, Hernando MS, Batesville MS, Senatobia MS, Holly Springs MS, Horn Lake MS, Clarksdale, MS. We have been successfully treating people from Desoto County, Shelby County, Tunica County, Marshall County, Tate County of Tennessee and Mississippi states.