As a preventive measure to slow the spread of the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus, also known as Covid-19 or Coronavirus, federal guidelines have advocated for people to stay home and avoid gathering in large groups. Depending on the state and local governments, some areas have even gone as far as to issue mandatory shelter in place orders.
Due to these guidelines, the American Dental Association issued a formal statement on April 1st strongly advising all dentists to temporarily suspend non-essential dental treatments. This means that dentist’s offices across the nation will remain closed and will only open for the treatment of dental emergencies. This recommendation will remain in place until April 30th at the earliest.
With that being said, it is more important than ever to maintain your oral health and prevent potential dental emergencies to avoid both emergency dental treatment, as well as additional exposure. To prevent the need for emergency dental treatment, here are a few guidelines to follow:
Keep Your Teeth Clean
Practicing good oral hygiene is the first step to maintaining your oral health and preventing dental emergencies. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily help to remove plaque buildup and excess bacteria in your mouth, which then reduces your risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease. For best results, be sure to use a soft bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride is known to strengthen your enamel and make it more resistant to decay.
Manage Your Diet
Another way to maintain your oral health is to manage your diet. This isn’t to say that you need to be dieting during this time, only that you should minimize the amounts of sugar consumed. This is because sugars are the primary food source of decay-causing bacteria, therefore more sugar intake means an increased risk for tooth decay. Thus, you should consume sweets, carbs, and soda in moderation.
Additionally, you should also temporarily abstain from consuming foods that are excessively hard, crunchy, chewy, or sticky. Unfortunately, these foods can lead to potential dental emergencies such as a dislodged dental restoration or fractured and chipped teeth.
Wear Your Dental Appliances
If your dentist has prescribed certain dental appliances, it is important that you wear them as directed to avoid any potential problems caused by their absence. For example, if you are undergoing Invisalign treatment, not wearing your aligners as directed could prolong your treatment length. Additionally, if you have been prescribed a night guard for bruxism, not wearing it could result in broken teeth or a sore jaw.
Avoid Damaging Behaviors
Unfortunately, there are certain behaviors and habits that have been known to damage teeth and all of these should be avoided to prevent dental emergencies. Basically, any behavior besides chewing and biting food can be potentially damaging to your teeth, dental restorations, and soft tissue. However, the most common damaging behaviors to avoid are: nail biting, chewing on ice or pens, and using your teeth as a tool to hold or open things.
During this hectic point in history, you and your family already have enough to worry about. Since the last thing you need is to deal with a dental emergency, we hope you will use these guidelines to help preserve you and your family’s oral health. However, in the unfortunate case of a dental emergency, you can call our office for further instructions or to schedule an emergency dental appointment.