Has COVID-19 gotten the better of your dental health?
From the moment the SARS-COV-2 generally known as COVID-19 broke out, we have had to adapt in many aspects of our lives. We have had to change our personal goals, our career plans, even our health plans!
Indeed, many individuals have never been to a dentist. Take, for instance, Joy (not real name), who despite having never been to a dentist, considers this period the most unsuitable time to do that. While the number of people who have never been to a dentist varies with such factors as age, location, and economic status, a study conducted in Nigeria suggests that as many as 22.4 percents of adults have never been to a dentist for dental care.
Also, pre-COVID-19 statistics suggest that oral diseases affect more than 3.9 billion people worldwide. That is more than half the world population.
So, is there reason to believe that these numbers have increased in the face of COVID-19? Yes.
Many people are afraid of the possibilities of contracting the Coronavirus and this has affected other areas of their health including dental health.
But there is absolutely no reason to fear. We’ve got you covered. Here in this post, we will show you four great ways you can ensure that your oral health does not suffer throughout and after this period.
So if you haven’t seen a dentist at all, now is a good time!
1. Adherence of patients to general COVID guidelines for in-office treatment
Yes! In-office treatments. If we are keeping our end of the deal to keep our office infection-free and safe, you should be doing the same.
So before an in-office visit, follow all the safety guidelines, including the general ones that advice about washing your hands, avoiding close contact, covering your mouth and nose with a nose cover, covering coughs and sneezes, and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily.
The more specific one as it relates to an in-office visit is that patients, and anyone accompanying them to the appointment, will be requested to wear a facemask while at clinic facility and will undergo screening for fever and symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
Provisions for virtual screening and virtual triaging to identify patients with possible COVID-19 infection and patients that need urgent dental care respectively are procedures that will greatly help patients when carried out by the dental clinic.
Teledentistry is a great leeway in a public health crisis like this.
The remote provision of dental care, advice, or treatment can greatly serve your needs in these periods and even after.
Have you spoken with a doctor via your phone, tablet, or computer before? If no, give it a try!
Teledentistry can take the form of real-time consultation between a patient and the dentist or store and forward of clinical information, particularly between healthcare professionals in the case of referrals.
It is worthy to note that teledentistry may not be a replacement for a physical meeting with your dentist. Instead, it sets it up as required.
If you have not read our post on teledentistry, look it up here.
3. Pharmacological management
If urgent dental care is needed, for example in a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 infection, and in the cases of conditions such as tooth pain or swelling, pharmacologic management in the form of antibiotics and/or analgesics is a means to provide you good short-term relief.
These will be prescribed to you after you have spoken to your dentist. The easy way to contact your dentist is via a teledentistry platform.
4. Consistent oral hygiene
Preventing dental problems from happening in the first place should be the mainstay of your dental health. During the coronavirus pandemic, here are some tips.
1. Using a fluoride toothpaste, brush for at least two minutes and at least two times in a day. The best times are once during the day, and again before you do to sleep at night. If you don’t sleep at night, it would be best done after you have eaten your last meal of the day.
2. Cut down on the amount of sugar you take and the frequency with which you take it. We will advise that you keep sugar consumption to mealtimes. This will reduce the amount of time that your teeth are under attack.
3. At least once in a day, use interdental brushes or floss to clean in-between teeth. This is especially important for adults. Also, use mouthwash to take care of cavity-causing bacteria and keep your breath fresh if necessary.
These are useful options for adequate dental care despite the pandemic.
This article does not, however, substitute the professional care you should receive from your healthcare provider.
1. Dental care and coronavirus (COVID-19) Dental care and coronavirus (COVID-19)
2. Guidance for Dental Settings
3. Guidelines for dental care provision during the COVID-19 pandemic
4. Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19): Implications for Clinical Dental Care