DentistryUnited Kingdom

8 Tips to Maintain Dental Hygiene During the Lockdown

Dr Angela Ly

Your Smile Clinic, Manchester, UK

Dr Angela Ly is an award-winning British dentist, winning “Best Young Dentist” at the 2016 Private Dentistry Awards, and was also shortlisted as Best Young Dentist at the Dentistry Awards.

Dr Angela strongly believes in educating patients to empower them to take control of their own oral health. Her popular Youtube channel has helped thousands of patients across the world to improve their dental health.

During these unprecedented times, it is particularly important to take care of our dental health as dental practices are currently closed for face-to-face appointments to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. With no routine dental examinations or hygienist appointments available, it is essential that we take the necessary action to prevent dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.

Here are some top tips to help you maintain a healthy smile at home:

1. Reduce your sugar consumption

We recommend no more than four sugar attacks, which include your main meals. It’s easy and tempting for us to snack frequently while we are stuck at home, bored or not in our usual routine. Try to stick to your regular routine and meal times to limit snacking. If you do snack, try to choose sugar-free alternatives, such as nuts.

2. Brush twice daily using a fluoride toothpaste

Fluoride has been proven to reduce the risk of tooth decay. It’s important to brush thoroughly for 2 minutes last thing at night before you go to sleep to remove any plaque build-up during the day, and at another time during the day. However, avoid brushing your teeth straight after eating as this can brush damaging dietary acids into the teeth and cause tooth wear. It is best to wait at least 30 minutes after eating before you brush to allow the dietary acids time to neutralise. Remember to spit after brushing and don’t rinse as this will wash away the protective fluoride. An alcohol-free fluoride mouthwash can be used at a different time to brushing, such as directly after meal times to keep your mouth feeling fresh and clean.  

3. Don’t forget to floss

The areas in between the teeth are often neglected, and this is one of the most common areas where people develop dental problems such as decay or gum disease. Now that we have more time at home, it is a good time to develop this healthy habit which will not only benefit your oral health but general health. Untreated gum disease can increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes. 

4. Stop smoking

With our health at the forefront of our minds, there isn’t a better time to quit smoking. Smoking is a risk factor in gum disease and oral cancer.

5. Drink water frequently

Keeping hydrated is very important for your oral health. A dry mouth increases your risk of dental decay and is a cause of bad breath. 

6. Chew sugar-free gum

Using a sugar-free chewing gum in between meals helps to stimulate lots of protective saliva. This can help to neutralise plaque acids and may help you stop snacking. 

7. Prevent teeth grinding and accidental chipping

This is a very stressful time for many, and for some people, this may result in teeth grinding or clenching. Some people may do this subconsciously in their sleep. This can result in chipping and breaking of teeth, as well as neck and jaw pain, and tension headaches. Breathing techniques, yoga, and meditation can help to manage stress. If your dentist has prescribed you a custom-fit bite guard to wear, make sure you wear this when you sleep to prevent you chipping and breaking teeth. Over-the-counter bite guards can also be purchased online.

8. Manage sensitivity

Use a sensitive toothpaste if you experience sensitivity to hot and cold. If you have dental pain, paracetamol can be taken. However, if your pain is constant and not managed with painkillers, you will need to get in touch with your dentist, who can give you advice or direct you to the nearest urgent dental care centre. 

Written by Dr Angela Ly

To find out more about Dr Angela Ly, please visit the Youtube Channel below and her Manchester-based dental practice at yoursmileclinic.co.uk

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