During the three periods of lockdown there has been many articles about the symptoms and effects of Covid-19, plus a range of related issues including mental health, weight gain and increased alcohol consumption.
In this article, we wish to focus on one often forgotten effect of lockdown, the potential for poor oral health.
Under normal circumstances each of our patients would have attended for regular dental health checks and hygiene appointments. This gave us the opportunity to spot potential issues before they became serious. These range from seeing when brushing techniques need improvement at one end of the scale to spotting the early symptoms of mouth cancer at the most serious end.
Of course, many patients have had the opportunity to attend their regular appointments, yet for many this wasn’t an option. At JL Dental Care, we always want to ensure our patients have a healthy mouth and smile for life. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of the best practices for your dental hygiene, so you can have one less thing to worry about:
1. Don’t go to bed without brushing your teeth - It’s no secret that the general recommendation is to brush at least twice a day. Still, many of us continue to neglect brushing our teeth at night. But brushing before bed removes the germs and plaque and debris that accumulate throughout the day.
2. Brush properly - The way you brush is equally important — in fact, incorrectly brushing your teeth is almost as bad as not brushing at all. Take your time, moving the toothbrush in gentle, circular motions to remove plaque. Unremoved plaque can harden, leading to calculus build up and gingivitis (early gum disease). If you are unsure if you are cleaning your teeth properly ask for a demonstration at your next appointment with one of our hygienists. We will soon be posting a video of brushing techniques on our Facebook page.
3. Don’t neglect your tongue - Bacteria can build up on your tongue and lead to bad mouth odour, it can also cause oral health problems. Gently brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper every time you clean your teeth.
4. Use whichever toothbrush works for you - Whilst there are many brands of manual and electric toothbrushes, it’s not our place to insist which you use. The important thing is that you use it at least twice daily in the correct way.
5. Treat flossing with the same importance as brushing - Many who brush regularly neglect to floss or use interdental brushes. Flossing or brushing between teeth is not just for removing those little pieces of food which may be getting stuck, it’s really a way to stimulate the gums, reduce plaque, and help lower inflammation in the area.
6. Drink more water - Water continues to be the best beverage for your overall health — including oral health. We also recommend drinking water after every meal. This can help wash out some of the negative effects of sticky and acidic foods and beverages in between brushes.
7. Limit sugary and acidic foods – Sugar is the biggest cause of dental diseases. It is converted into acid in the mouth by plaque and these acids are what lead to cavities. Plaque feeds on sugars so more sugar results in more plaque! Frequent ingestion of acidic fruits, teas, and coffee can be harmful and discolour teeth. While you don’t necessarily have to avoid such foods altogether, it doesn’t hurt to be mindful.
8. Have regular dental health appointments – Your own everyday habits are crucial to your overall oral health. Still, even the most dutiful brushers and flossers need professional help. We recommend regular check-ups and hygienist visits with the team, we appreciate this will take longer to book due to increased appointment lengths, therefore fewer appointments are available.
Please feel free to call us on 020 8958 0136 if you have any concerns regarding your dental health.