If you’ve been watching the news or simply tried to call a dentist in Joplin for a checkup, you’re likely finding out that getting a routine appointment set up is not possible at this time. Due to COVID-19, the current pandemic sweeping the nation and the world, dentists and their teams are doing everything they can to prevent the spread of this incredibly contagious and potentially harmful virus. To learn why dental practices must do their part and what you can do to protect your smile until offices begin to reopen, keep reading!
Why are Dental Offices Closed Due to COVID-19?
All dental professionals, including dentists, hygienists, assistants, and office staff feel obligated to close their offices due to COVID-19. The American Dental Association has strongly encouraged dental practices to remain closed and only serve emergency dental cases at this time. The main reason for this is because the specific nature of dentistry puts dental teams and patients at risk of developing the virus.
While dental offices are one of the safest and cleanest places to be in when it comes to infection control, medical professionals recognize the risk of remaining open during a pandemic. This is especially so considering the amount of germs that can spread after working on a patient’s mouth. Therefore, the best thing you can do right now is follow recommendations provided by local and national health officials as well as perfect your at-home oral care routine.
At-Home Oral Hygiene is a Must
When practicing your oral hygiene, you’ll want to keep these main points in mind moving forward.
- Wash your hands before and after you brush (to prevent the spread of germs.)
- Brush for at least two minutes at a time twice a day using fluoridated toothpaste.
- Floss at least once a day.
- When brushing, focus especially on the flat surfaces of back teeth and the back surfaces of teeth visible in your smile, two areas that often go missed during routine oral care.
- When flossing, make sure to never snap the floss from in between your teeth.
Taking Your Oral Care Up a Notch
When you have an established oral care routine, you can prevent most tooth decay and gum disease for the time being. However, if you want to be particularly careful, there are ways you can protect yourself further.
For example, you can incorporate an oral rinse into your regular brushing and flossing regimen. Just make sure that the rinse is fluoridated as fluoride is essential for killing cavity-causing bacteria. You can also make sure to practice oral care after each meal and snacks. If you eat something that contains a lot of sugar or starch, oral care immediately afterwards can be very beneficial to your oral health in the long-term.
Finally, if you’d like to make oral care easier, consider purchasing an electric toothbrush. While any toothbrush will do just fine, some people enjoy the gentle vibrations of a rotating or sonic appliance. It can also make oral care easier for young children or those without the dexterity necessary to practice oral hygiene.
About the Author
Dr. Dan K. Young is highly trained in many facets of dentistry, including general dentistry, which is necessary for maintaining long-term oral health. He’s more than happy to help patients improve and perfect their at-home oral care routine once dental offices can reopen. If you need to handle a dental emergency, you can call him through his website!