Covid-19 Lockdown – An Extra Challenge For Our Oral Health

Canterbury dentist, Bob Dubbins offers patients some timely advice

Woman flossing teethHopefully, all patients of Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic are following government guidelines at this difficult time and staying indoors except for essential trips and a little daily exercise. It is a challenging time for many of us and it looks set to continue, in some form, for a few more weeks yet.

Fortunately, to help us through, there are thousands of articles available online, covering subjects such as how to get creative, keep fit or maybe even learn a new language etc. So even with the restrictions, some people will be able to draw positives, whilst for others, simply getting through it by relaxing as much as possible may be their preferred option.

As your Canterbury dental practice is currently closed for physical visits, and will be until we are allowed to open again, it is particularly important that our patients make sure to really take care of their teeth. We are currently unable to treat even minor problems such as a toothache or a lost filling, so below we offer you some tips to help you come out of the current ‘lockdown’ with healthy teeth and gums.

Brushing and flossing

One of the most important things that you can do is to keep your daily brushing routine, and, if you don’t already, add flossing to it as well. Even remembering to brush our teeth twice a day might be challenging for some of us, with our usual daily routines dramatically altered. Remembering to brush our teeth at night might be easy enough as little may have changed there, but our morning routines will possibly be quite different. We recommend that you find a new regular time to brush your teeth in the morning, perhaps before you go for your morning jog, or whatever fits in with your own daily schedule.

When you do brush your teeth, check how you are doing it. If you currently brush hard with the bristles flat to the surface of the teeth, try a different approach. There is no need to ‘scrub’ your teeth, and in fact, this can damage the enamel surface. Instead brush gently using a circular motion. The other thing that you should do is to point the bristles towards the gums. This allows the bristles to reach beneath the gum line and clean out hidden debris and bacteria that might otherwise lead to decay and/or gum disease. Make sure too that the bristles of your brush are not worn out and change your toothbrush if they are (or the head of an electric one).

For those of you who don’t use dental floss, this is a good opportunity to learn how. Flossing is an excellent and simple way of improving your overall oral health, tackling bacteria and food often gets trapped between the teeth and which is difficult to remove by brushing alone. There are lots of useful videos online that can teach you how to floss. You might find it difficult at first, but there is plenty of time to learn and time is something that a lot of us will have at the moment; so why not use it constructively where you can.

Be careful with your diet

Almost inevitably, a lot of us will increase our consumption of chocolate and other sweets at this time. The fact that there are also probably a few Easter eggs to eat may not help either!  It is natural, when we are feeling anxious or isolated from others, that we might want to eat foods that make us feel happier. Unfortunately, many of these ‘comfort foods’ are very high in sugar and, as we know, this is not good news for our teeth. We can forgive ourselves the occasional treat; after all, it is a trying time for many of us. Just make sure that you do your best to keep these to a sensible limit. Try also to eat chocolate and other sweets at a time when you will be brushing (and flossing) your teeth not too long afterwards. The sugars and acids will do less damage if they are on your teeth for an hour than if they are there for a whole day.

Coming out of lockdown

We will probably find out in the next few days what will happen regarding the current situation. With new cases of the Covid-19 virus now appearing to start to fall, it seems that the social distancing has been working. It is still very likely though that the current situation will be extended, at least by a few weeks, with probably a gradual reintroduction of normal life soon after.

We hope to open Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic as soon as we are able. We don’t know when this will be or what procedures we will be allowed to perform, at least initially, but we will do all we can to keep you informed.

When things return to normal, we do recommend that patients consider having their teeth and gums professionally cleaned by our dental hygienist. This will help to restore good oral health following this period when many patients will have missed their six monthly check up.

We also offer a wide selection of treatments, including cosmetic ones. If you are looking for something to do at this time, why not take a look at our various options and see if there are any that you feel you might benefit from in the future.

Although closed to the general public, we are still open and offering advice by telephone. Where urgent dental treatment is required, we can direct you to an Urgent Dental Care Centre where staff have the appropriate PPE available, enabling them to carry out urgent treatment. Remember though, this will not include minor toothaches, lost fillings etc so please do your best to look after your teeth.

If you do need to call us for dental advice, you can do so on 01227 463529. Please stay safe!