Importance of Dental Care During Quarantine: 5 Great Tips
Things are scary right now — for everyone. COVID-19 has truly changed the world. Hopefully things are at least going to start getting back to normal in the near future, but there is a chance a second wave hits and the global pandemic will continue for months.
Whether or not the pandemic wraps up in the next few weeks, it’s imperative that you continue to focus on your health and your family’s health. Obviously, monitoring COVID-19 symptoms should be the priority — so make sure you’re constantly checking your children’s temperature, thoroughly washing your hands, and being extra cautious whenever you go out in public. As far as general healthcare is concerned, though you can’t visit your doctor at the moment, you can still take advantage of telehealth programs and speak with licensed medical professionals about improving your family’s health during these trying times.
Again, monitoring your family’s health is crucial at the moment. But it’s just as important to focus on your family’s dental care throughout your quarantine. And though you can’t visit your dentist in person for dental cleanings, tooth whitening, and other family dentistry procedures, you can still take excellent care of your teeth and your children’s teeth from the comfort of your home. Here’s how you can do it!
Consult with family dental service professionals
Unless it’s a dental emergency, you’re not going to be able to take your kids and physically visit your dentist right now. Hopefully you can soon, but until then, you’ll have to take advantage of family dentistry via the Internet. These professionals can help you perform dental cleaning at home and offer expert advice pertaining to dental care for kids and yourself. It’s important to note some of the emergency treatments — these should be addressed right away, even during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Serious pain
- Trauma that is affecting your ability to breathe
- Bleeding that will not stop
- Wires in your child’s braces that are hurting
- Tissue that needs a biopsy
- Dentures that aren’t working properly
- Swollen areas in or around the mouth (neck, face, gums, etc.)
- Dental work pertaining to cancer treatment
- Broken teeth, especially if tissue damage or pain is occurring
- A broken or lost temporary crown
- Signs of infection including pain and swelling
- Post-dental surgery care
Additionally, here are some non-urgent treatments — often called elective procedures — that can be put off until later on in the year:
- Checkups for braces
- Dental cleaning or exams
- Tooth whitening
- Fixing cosmetic issues
Shopping and cooking for teeth-friendly meals
Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes parents make when it comes to dental care for kids is buying too many unhealthy food products and drinks. You can make your children brush their teeth 15 times a day, but if all they are eating in between brushing is Oreos, cake, and other sugary products, they’re going to have all kinds of dental (and physical) problems. Instead, carefully plan out your weekly trip to the grocery store and start including much healthier products. No child should go through life without tasting a delicious piece of cake, however, but those kinds of snacks should never be weekly or daily occurrences. Start taking your grocery shipping and cooking much more seriously.
Here are some of the healthiest foods that you should consider cooking with and serving a bit more over your quarantine:
- Yogurt — Yogurt is a great and healthy snack for kids and adults alike. Yogurt is high in calcium and protein and offers beneficial probiotics that can help your gums and your children’s gums by fighting off bad bacteria that causes cavities. Keep in mind, there are dozens of yogurt products out there with all kinds of added sugar, and those aren’t the best options. Instead, stick to a plain variety and consider tossing in a few pieces of fruit!
- Leafy Greens — Leafy greens are on just about every healthy foods list because they are full of vitamins and minerals and are low in calories. But they can also promote oral health because they are so high in calcium. They also contain a type of B vitamin that has numerous health advantages, including treating gum disease in pregnant women. Sure, it’s tough to get kids excited about eating leafy greens — but there are some fun things you can do to encourage them to give these food products a try. Consider throwing some kale or baby spinach onto a nice pizza and you’ll have a healthy and fun family meal!
- Apples and Carrots — Though fruits are sweet, they have plenty of fiber and water in them that promote good oral hygiene. Plus, chewing and eating apples and carrots will produce saliva and rinse away bacteria and other food particles. And the fibrous texture of these fruits will stimulate the gums. Kids love carrots because they are small and easy — apples can be a bit more intimidating but spend two minutes chopping up some apple slices and your kids will have a great and healthy snack.
- Cheese — Eating cheese actually raises pH levels and can lower the risk of tooth decay. Additionally, the chewing involved with eating cheese increases saliva in the mouth. Cheese also contains protein and calcium, which are healthy nutrients that strengthen tooth enamel — so get to eating all that cheese!
Focus on general dental hygiene
Global pandemic or not, you must always focus on proper dental care at home — especially if you have children. For yourself, do your best to limit sugary drinks an adding too much sugar to your coffee. For your kids, avoid those unhealthy snacks and make sure they know the importance of brushing, flossing, and rinsing — daily.
They might not realize it when they are young, but proper dental care is imperative for their future. No one wants to have to worry about expensive medical treatments when they’re in their 20s. But if your kids don’t start appreciating their teeth at an early age, they are going to have all sorts of problems down the line. Try to not punish your kids for skipping brushing, because that will only lead them to revolt against you and the way of the toothbrush. Instead, do your best to make brushing fun when they are toddlers and then continue to stress the importance of proper dental care as they grow older. Your children might be afraid of dentists at first, too. But as long as you’re visiting (or virtual chatting) with a respectable and fun dentist, they’ll feel much more at ease.
Beware of common dental mistakes
It’s virtually impossible to do everything right 100% of the time, so don’t beat yourself up for slipping and making a mistake or two every once in a while. Sometimes we just need that extra scoop of sugar in our morning coffee! But it’s crucial to at least identify what these mistakes are and to do yourself to limit them.
Here are some of the most common and most damaging dental care mistakes that families often make:
- Aggressivley brushing — In theory, it makes sense. If you have all kinds of bacteria and food particles in your mouth, vigorously brushing your teeth should rid your mouth of all that unwanted bacteria. That might be true, but it’s also not advisable because you could be doing some serious damage to your mouth. Brushing too hard or for too long can actually damage your dental enamel and cause your gums to recede. It’s best to use a soft-bristled brush and brush gently.
- Not replacing your toothbrush — If you can’t remember the last time you replaced your toothbrush… it’s time. Replacing your toothbrush every three months or so will ensure that you’re brushing correctly and protecting your teeth from harmful bacteria that builds up on your toothbrush over time. Plus, replacing your kids’ toothbrush with a cool new one will reinvigorate their love of brushing!
- Using toothpicks — Sure, using a toothpick can look cool, but it’s not a good idea. Every once in a while at a restaurant is okay, but regularly using toothpicks can be very harmful. Toothpicks can splinter and severely damage your gums and cause unnecessary bleeding. Additionally, they don’t even fully remove plaque and bacteria between teeth. It’s a much better idea to focus on flossing more regularly than using a toothpick.
- Brusing teeth after sugary drinks — We’re all guilty of it: drinking a few cups of coffee and immediately running up to the bathroom to brush our teeth. It seems like it’s a great idea, right? Actually… it’s not. Brushing too soon after drinking coffee can actually do more harm than good because those beverages weaken your enamel and will wear away as you brush your teeth. Instead, start chewing a piece of sugar-free gum to help with those unwanted coffee stains and then brush a little bit later on.
Don’t forget about your pet’s teeth!
Lastly, it’s imperative that you aren’t forgetting about your four-legged friend’s dental hygiene — especially during your quarantine. Don’t let your pets eat all those unhealthy treats, either! Pet dental care is very important and should be maintained at all times. Sure, you can prioritize your kids’ teeth, but don’t let your pets chew on hard things and constantly eat harmful snacks.
Similarly to doctors and dentists, you can’t take your pet to see a veterinarian right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t consult with them over the internet. Do some research online and find a great vet who offers webcam services so your pet’s teeth (and general health) can be addressed!
After your health, your dental hygiene should be prioritized at all times — whether there is a global pandemic going on or not. Times are tough right now for us all but that doesn’t mean we should neglect our teeth or our children’s teeth. It’s time to start taking dental care more seriously. Start thinking about changing your shopping and cooking habits, stop using toothpicks, and replace your toothbrush!