Wash your hands, brush your teeth, wear a mask: Covid-19 essential oral health advice

Covid-19 is highly infectious and is spread both directly through saliva droplets transmitted by coughing, sneezing and even talking, as well as indirectly by touching surfaces already contaminated by the virus. It is therefore important to wash your hands thoroughly when you have been out of your home. It’s particularly important to avoid contact with your mouth and eyes to avoid contamination through touch transmission. I have an antibacterial hand gel just inside my front door that I can easily use when I return home. Only leave your home for essential travel.

Soap is a detergent and kills many bacteria and viruses. It is very effective. Similarly, toothpastes are detergents and can kill and reduce the bacterial load in our mouths. The benefit of brushing lasts a few hours, considerably reducing the potential viral spread to others.

Here are some simple tips to help you manage your oral health

Keep your daily oral hygiene routine going. Brush twice daily and use a fluoride toothpaste. Brush for at least 2 minutes. Spit the paste do not rinse it away as the anti-cavity benefit of the fluoride on the tooth surface will linger, and the anti-viral effect of the paste will last longer.

You may wish to brush more frequently, especially if you have the symptoms of Covid-19. You are advised to brush immediately before you leave home or get onto public transport. You may wish to carry toothpaste with you to apply around your teeth with your finger when you are away from home for long hours.

Try to avoid coughing and sneezing, especially when in the company of others. If you need to cough, do so away from others and ideally into your sleeve.

Never share your toothbrush no matter how close you are to people you live with. This will avoid transmission of the virus between yourselves. Change your toothbrush regularly, at least every 3 months.

Sterilise your toothbrush regularly to avoid contamination. Use hot water and salt. As Covid-19 is spread through water and mucous droplets it is not enough to just rinse your brush under water. Store your brush away from others so that it does not touch and contaminate them.

If you suspect you have Covid-19 avoid using an electric toothbrush to avoid droplet splashes. If possible, temporarily use a small headed manual toothbrush for easier access.

It’s important that you do not let your brushing routine lapse. It may be a longer interval before you can get your next dental or dental hygiene appointment, so keeping your gums and teeth clean will ensure you maintain your gum health throughout this pandemic.

Use an antibacterial mouthwash and gargle gently to soothe your throat and to minimise the bacterial load. You can use a simple warm salt mouthwash to soothe and heal (a teaspoon of normal salt with some warm water).

Drink plenty of water. Follow a healthy diet and cut down on sugary foods and snacks. Get plenty of exercise.

Following these suggestions will help to reduce the transmission of the virus and improve your oral and general health. Please Share this advice and Follow me for more informative updates on HealthyWhiteSmile.co.uk.

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