Most dentists are closed for cleanings and checkups for the time being, thanks to COVID-19. Many of them are instead only seeing emergency patients on an as-needed basis. As a result, you might not have a dental cleaning for a while yet. Because of this, you might be at a higher risk of getting cavities or gum disease since plaque and tartar may build up. To prevent this, it’s important to stay on top of your oral hygiene. Here are a few tips to help you do so.
Many people do a quick swipe of their brush over their teeth a couple of times a day, but they often don’t brush for long enough. In order to rid your mouth of leftover food particles, plaque, and tartar, be sure to clean your teeth for two full minutes at a time. Not sure how long that is? You could set a timer. Alternatively, you could sing the alphabet song to yourself all the way through twice.
Floss Right Before Bed
In a perfect world, everyone would floss after every meal and snack, but flossing before bed is usually enough to keep plaque from accumulating between your teeth. If you forget or neglect to floss before you go to sleep, bacteria in plaque can attack your teeth and gums during the night, resulting in bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. When you wake up in the morning, set your floss container down on top of your pillow. That should help you remember to floss before bed.
Rinse with Mouthwash
Mouthwash can clean parts of your mouth that your toothbrush and floss just can’t reach, like a lot of your soft tissues. Be sure to select a mouthwash that contains fluoride, since it boosts the strength of your enamel and fights cavities. Also, pick an alcohol-free mouthwash, since alcohol causes dry mouth, which contributes to a whole host of oral health problems.
Clean Your Tongue
Even after brushing and flossing, bacteria can remain on the tongue and deposit themselves back on your teeth and gums. After you’re finished brushing, use either your toothbrush or a tongue scraper (which can be found for cheap in the dental section of most pharmacies) to clean your tongue from back to front at least once a day. Not only does this prevent infections, but it can also freshen your breath.
Following these tips is a great way to maintain your oral hygiene until you can see your dentist for a cleaning again. For more advice, give your dentist a call or visit their website.
About the Author
Dr. Vince Fava earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree 25 years ago from the University of Toronto. He has been in private practice in Brampton for a majority of that time. Due to COVID-19, his practice is closed for dental cleanings indefinitely. Should you have a dental emergency, however, you can still reach them by calling 905-792-7163.