Good dental hygiene might not be in the front of your mind in the middle of a pandemic, but with many dental practices closed, it’s more important than ever to avoid potential damage and decay.
Dental officer Dr Michelle McNab said prevention is always the best way to care for your teeth and gums.
“Keeping up with regular brushing, flossing and maintaining a healthy diet will all contribute to better oral health,” Dr McNab said.
“I understand the temptation to reach for comfort foods like chocolate and soft drink at a time like this but try to keep these to a minimum as too much sugar and acid will do damage.
“This is especially important in a time when that extra support from your local dentist may not be readily available.”
The Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) Oral Health Team is offering remote ‘teledentistry’ appointments and digital patient data transfer for eligible patients.
This allows patients to securely send through medication lists and photographs of their oral health condition to better assist our clinicians in diagnosing and providing treatment and advice.
Dr McNab said the small things can make a big difference and offered these tips to uphold good oral hygiene.
- Brush twice a day – use a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste and brush twice a day for 2 minutes. Leaving the toothpaste on after brushing and not rinsing immediately will allow the fluoride in the paste more time to strengthen and protect your teeth.
- Keep an eye on your diet – during this time a lot of people will be eating more regularly and may be eating comfort foods with high sugar content. Snacking frequently on these foods between meals can increase our chance of tooth decay. Try having healthy snacks between meals, or chew on some sugar-free gum.
- Sugar sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, cordials, energy drinks and even fruit juices should be kept as occasional treats. The best drink choice for your mouth and general health is water, preferably from the tap if it is available.
If you are suspected of having or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have a dental problem, you must call your dentist first to talk about your options.
This may include providing treatment options over the phone, including organising a prescription for antibiotics or pain relief that can be sent straight to your local pharmacy.
For a dental emergency you may be referred to your local hospital for further screening and treatment.
For more information on public dental services visit health.nsw.gov.au/oralhealth.