There’s no doubt that maintaining responsible oral health care is a must in any circumstance, but the global spread of SARS-CoV-2 poses several challenges for dental health practitioners and their patients.
The Current Situation
Although dental offices have resumed their services (while using proper PPE and following disinfection measures of course), anxiety towards visiting medical offices during the pandemic have made some hesitant to seek routine check-ups and cleanings. On the other hand, some dentists have also reported an increase in patients aiming to address oral health problems they probably wouldn’t have noticed without a mask, such as bad breath.
Speaking of masks, dentists say they’ve been experiencing a surge in patients ever since mandatory face mask measures were put in place. In fact, cases of gum problems and bad breathe have increased so rapidly that dentists are now dubbing this phenomenon “Mask mouth”. This problem isn’t caused by masks per se (so don’t stop wearing them!), but by changing habits.
How Home Habits Affect Your Oral Health
Many people find it easier to breathe through their mouths than through their noses while wearing a mask covering. As a result, their mouths become dry, parched, and sorely deprived of saliva.
Saliva helps protect your teeth and gums from nasty oral bacteria. Not only does it wash out dirt and harmful microbes, but it also neutralizes acid, and releases proteins and peptides that fight against infection. Without saliva, you become more prone to harmful cavities, swollen gums, and dangerous bacterial infections.
Mouth breathing isn’t the only culprit behind dry mouth, though. Drinking too many hot or alcoholic drinks can also deprive your mouth of much-needed saliva. Coffee, soda, beer, and other similar beverages can also disrupt your mouth’s natural pH level and make it easier for bad bacteria to wreak havoc.
Another common culprit behind mask mouth is smoking. Excessive smoking and vaping both lead to a myriad of oral and overall health problems including dry mouth, bad breath, stained teeth, and even early tooth loss. The chemicals in tobacco and vape products also restrict blood flow to the gums, interrupt recovery from oral surgery, and increase one’s chances of getting periodontitis.
What Does Oral Health Have To Do With COVID-19?
The impact of your oral health on your overall health is much bigger than you think. Oral bacteria can enter the body through your gums—especially if they’re weak and swollen—and pass through the bloodstream, leading to diseases like stroke and heart disease. People with poor oral hygiene are far more likely to develop systemic diseases (i.e. diseases that affect the entire body) than those with healthy teeth and gums.
High blood pressure, diabetes, and other systemic diseases are all risk factors of COVID-19. The worse your oral hygiene is, the higher your chances are of becoming infected.
Furthermore, a study in the British Dental Journal found that people with poor oral hygiene were very much at risk of inhaling harmful mouth bacteria into their lungs. This made them rather susceptible to respiratory infections and bacterial complications. In other words, if you inhale harmful mouth bacteria 24/7, you could very well be at risk of contracting respiratory diseases.
So what’s the best way to prevent harmful lung infections? According to the researchers, good oral hygiene can significantly lower your risk of suffering infections, contracting systemic diseases, and inhaling harmful oral bacteria.
How to Stay Healthy During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Staying healthy during a global pandemic may seem like an impossible task, but there’s no need to worry. You can stay safe simply by practicing basic hygiene and maintaining proper social distancing in public. Here are some tips for staying strong and healthy:
. Brush twice a day: As always, remember to brush for at least two minutes twice a day. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to get rid of dirt and bacteria, and remember to brush thoroughly in circular motions.
- Floss once a day: Flossing is just as important as brushing. Without it, your gums can become terribly swollen and ill. Floss after brushing using regular dental floss, floss picks, waterpiks, or interdental brushes to lower your risk of periodontal disease.
- Practice frequent handwashing: Soap, hand sanitizer, and alcohol are powerful weapons against viral infections. Wash your hands before and after meals, as well as other activities, for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Use alcohol or hand sanitizer as much as you can, too.
- Cut down on the sugar: Sugar erodes enamel and increases your risk of painful cavities. To avoid any dental emergencies, stick to healthy sugar-free snacks. Limit your daily coffee or soda intake, and stick to water instead.
- Drink fluoridated water: Fluoride repairs damaged enamel and strengthens teeth. If possible, see if you can drink fluoridated water at home daily. Regular drinking water also works well if you live in an area without access to fluoridated water.
- Visit your dentist: Visiting your dentist should always be a number one priority. Regular check-ups ensure that your teeth and gums are free of harmful bacteria, and that any underlying oral problems you may be suffering from are resolved at once. Rest assured, dental clinics all over the world have now fitted themselves with appropriate PPE and disinfection measures, so you don't have to worry about any adverse risks to your health.
Another great way to stay happy and healthy is to invest in a great-quality home dental scaler. The Meeteasy Electric Dental Scaler is specially designed to eliminate oral bacteria and dirt from spots your toothbrush and floss can’t reach. After just a few uses, your teeth and gums are sure to stay in superb shape. Order yours from our online store now!