There’s an assumption that we all have plenty of time on our hands to get things done during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. That’s really not the case for most people. We’re busier than ever, it’s just that every obligation is happening at home. Amid all the needs your family has and the alterations your habits have undergone, be sure to continue to make your oral health a priority. Your teeth and body deserve it.
Monitor Your Mental Health
We are all dealing with extreme amounts of stress and anxiety as coronavirus swirls around us. Even the person with the most solid mental health can be threatened by the emotions that daily fear produces. Anyone who begins to fall into a depression can easily spend more time in bed or on the couch than they do anything else. We know it’s not easy to weather this storm, but keep brushing your teeth, even if you don’t feel like it.
If you’re arrested by anxious thoughts or obsessive cleaning behaviors because of COVID-19, your efforts could backfire. You may clean everything more than necessary, including your teeth. Heavy, aggressive brushing does not get your mouth any more disinfected than a normal brushing. Just keep up your regular brushing and flossing with a light hand and gentle brush.
If you are one of the people who is quarantining solo, you are in an odd little world where you may be tempted to skip the daily showers – or teeth brushing. One of the most important things you can do for yourself is maintain a normal schedule, and that includes self-care and personal hygiene – especially brushing and flossing.
You are accountable to yourself right now. If you need motivation to do everything that you should be doing, set a timer on your smartphone or add a twice-daily appointment to your calendar to ensure that your teeth are getting regular attention.
Watch What You Eat
Stress eating? Increasing the carbs because fresh produce is hard to come by? Grabbing a power drink or soda instead of water because you need the pick-me-upper? Have the coffee maker constantly percolating? Your teeth are taking the brunt of your new eating habits – and they need your love and attention now more than ever to ensure they stay healthy and strong.
Keep brushing and flossing as usual to get rid of the daily accumulation of plaque, bacteria, and food particles. Drink plenty of water to help rinse your teeth in between brushings. And try to avoid the things that aren’t good for your teeth, but that might be soothing you right now, like lollipops or hard candy, crunching on ice or chewing on a pencil.
After This Is Over
You don’t want to come out of quarantine with a cavity, tooth infection, growing gum disease, or other oral health problems because you didn’t take care of your teeth and gums when you were following the stay-at-home order. It only takes about five minutes of your day total to brush and floss your teeth – consider that some “me” time, an opportunity to meditate while you brush, to rid your mind of everything, to just be.
We will be waiting to get back to normal with you as our patients too. In the meantime, if you have a true dental emergency, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Alana Macalik in Arlington, Texas, to schedule an emergency visit.