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How to keep your teeth healthy in the lockdown

By Dr AADITI MAHAJAN
Last updated on: August 20, 2020 15:25 IST
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Brushing and flossing twice a day, rinsing your mouth after every meal will be a lot kinder to your mouth and wallet, advises Dr Aaditi Mahajan.

How to take care of your teeth

Taking care of your teeth is just as essential as caring for any part of your body. Photograph: Kind courtesy Pexels.com

The viral lockdown has brought an astronomical change in our daily grind.

We have been forced to spend most of our time indoors working from home, trying our hand at cooking delicacies and binge eating.

Most of us have been quarantined for the first time and hence have been giving preeminent importance to our physical and mental well-being but ignoring an important part of our body -- the teeth.

We need our teeth to savour a good meal and to flaunt a smile.

However, the pandemic and the succeeding lockdown is having a negative impact on our oral health.

What most people are unaware is that the health of our teeth and the surrounding gums has a direct impact on our general health as both are intimately connected.

Research has shown that when you tend to ignore your dental health, it can worsen your diabetes, heart issues and lead to miscarriage in pregnant women.

Skipping oral hygiene can have grave consequences because it leads to a chain of events such as bad breath, pain, infection, and tooth loss.

Here are some of the most common dental issues people are facing in the lockdown and some advice on what you can do about it.

Toothache/Wisdom tooth pain

Rinse your mouth with warm saline water and ice application intermittently in case of swelling.

Steer clear of balm application or hot compression.

In case of food lodgement in the cavity, thoroughly brush and floss to remove the food entrapped, avoid using a sharp object which may enhance the pain.

Avoid sugary, acidic food or food with extreme hot or cold temperature such as ice cream.

Bleeding gums

Usually caused by poor oral hygiene, where the swollen gums bleed especially during brushing.

It can be rectified by brushing thoroughly, using interdental brushes, flossing and rinsing with a mouthwash such as Chlorhexidine.

Make sure that you use a fluoridated toothpaste and ensure that the brushing is efficiently done on all tooth surfaces.

Once the oral health improves, bleeding ceases.

Sensitivity

Are you struggling to have your favourite ice cream without pain? You might have to stay away from desserts for a while to avoid sensitivity.

Usually caused due to decay, receding gum line, broken fillings or worn out teeth. Also induced by acidic food or aerated drinks.

Applying a desensitising toothpaste directly over the affected area and leaving it there for a while before rinsing your mouth along with regular brushing and flossing helps.

Ulcers

Can be a by-product of excessive stress, ill-fitting dentures, sharp margins of broken teeth or restorations, usually affected the movable mucosa such as cheeks, inside surface of the lips and tongue.

It can be a single entity or multiple lesions which usually heal within 7 to 10 days.

In case they are painful, anaesthetic intraoral gels or painkillers can be taken, refrain from hot and spicy food which may provoke the pain.

Schedule an appointment with a dentist to determine the underlying cause.

Ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

Good nutrition begins with healthy teeth.

Having a balanced diet, good 6 to 8 hours sleep and regular workouts helps to keep your immune system strong and healthier.

Engaging in activities such as reading, painting or listening to music can alleviate mental stress.

The two most common causes of tooth loss are decay and gum disease, so the better you deal with these, the more chances you have for keeping your teeth for good.

Some emergency issues can be addressed via teleconsultation, but others may require physical visits.

Home remedies aren't definitive treatment, they only provide relief for the moment. As per WHO guidelines, routine check-ups, orthodontic treatment, veneers can be put on hold till the coronavirus curve flattens.

However, in case of excruciating pain, lack of sleep due to pain, please do schedule an appointment with a dentist as putting it off for a few months might flare up the issue.

What starts off as a minor issue can lead to a major one if left untreated.

It is rightly said, 'You only brush the teeth you want to keep.'

So brushing and flossing twice a day, rinsing your mouth after every meal will be a lot kinder to your mouth and wallet, as overlooking the milky whites may have a ravaging effect not just to your teeth but also your overall health.


Cosmetic Dentist Dr Aaditi Mahajan is the founder-MD of Loop Dental.

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