Monday, May 4, 2020

Healthy Oral Habits at Home

Life feels pretty upside-down right now. Many of us are stuck at home, worried about the health of loved ones, and coping with a million uncertainties. Even the dentist’s office is affected. The American Dental Association recently recommended dental offices close to everything except emergencies during the COVID-19 outbreak.

But during this time of stress and global health crisis, it is still important to focus on personal wellbeing, including oral health. Keeping up on positive oral health habits helps us all feel more balanced, gives us a sense of normalcy, and can keep us smiling in times of stress.

Here are four ways to keep your smile healthy at home during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Drink Plenty of Water

Water cooler conversations are on hold for now— unless you count chatting it up with your dog. But staying hydrated is still important, both for the health of your body and the health of your mouth.

In terms of your oral health, water rinses away food particles that sit on your teeth and cause cavities. Staying hydrated promotes saliva flow, which gives your teeth important proteins and minerals – like fluoride. And if your community provides a good balance fluoride water you receive an extra benefit – every time the water runs over your teeth it strengthens your enamel (the outer surface of your teeth).

Having trouble staying hydrated? :

  • Drink one glass of water with every meal and between meals
  • Add frozen fruit in place of ice cubes
  • Use an app to track your water intake

Avoid Emotional Eating

Many people turn to food for comfort during times of stress. But loading up on carbs and sugar puts you at risk for cavities. It also negatively impacts your mood. So before you reach for that pint of ice cream, consider these alternatives:

  • Stick to a routine. Prevent grazing by keeping your normal meal routine.
  • Drink a glass of water. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger. Try water first.
  • Keep healthy snacks on hand. Keep fresh veggies, fruits or nuts on hand to satisfy cravings in a healthy way.
  • Try sugar-free gum. If you absolutely have to chew, make sure your gum is sugarless.

Keep Up with Your Oral Hygiene

When you don’t have to face coworkers each day, it’s tempting to skimp on your brush-and-floss routine. But remote meetings or not, oral hygiene is still important, especially if your regular dental checkup is postponed because of COVID-19. Why not set your phone alarm to remind you to continue flossing each day and brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste?

And remember, although routine dental visits are on hold, many dentists are available for emergency care. If you experience unusual or prolonged pain in your mouth or teeth, call your dentist to discuss your options.

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