Oral Health and Quarantine

June 18, 2020
Avatar for Kelley MingusKelley Mingus

These are unprecedented times we live in, and with the future uncertain, it can take its toll on our mind, body and spirit. But mandatory quarantines and social distancing are no reason to stop taking care of ourselves at home. It’s easy to lose sight of our oral health when we don’t have anywhere to go or anyone who sees us. But getting your oral health on track now is more important than ever. Here’s why, and what you can do to improve your oral health while you’re going out less.

While brushing your teeth and flossing can’t cure anything, it can help prevent us from getting sick. So even if you don’t think anyone will notice if you skip brushing today, your body will.

“Brushing your teeth doesn’t just kill plaque and bacteria that can cause cavities and gingivitis – it can stop those germs and bacteria from making their way further into your body via the bloodstream,” says Dr. Kelley Mingus, a dentist from Bend, Oregon.

So, how can you give your teeth some extra help during quarantine? Mingus suggests you take the time at home to take advantage of the many opportunities you have to improve your oral health.

Floss: If you aren’t a flosser, this is the perfect time to learn, You can watch YouTube videos if you need to learn how to floss, or your dentist can show you at your next appointment. Flossing gets about 30 percent of the plaque and bacteria on our teeth that cannot be reached by brushing alone, so it’s something we should all be doing daily anyway.

Brush after every meal, and try brushing longer: “Yes, we say two minutes at a time, twice a day, but ideally we’d all brush after each meal for a minimum of two minutes,” Mingus says.

Lunch at home? Grab that brush afterwards and clean those teeth! After all, there’s no chance of getting the side eye from a confused co-worker in the public restroom.

Whiten up: Do you have white trays or strips you’ve been meaning to use but just haven’t had the time? Now’s a great time to start using them and getting those pearly whites pearly whiter.

Take inventory: With food and supply shortages nationwide, pay attention to your dental supplies and make sure you have what you need on hand. This doesn’t mean you should rush out and panic buy all the toothpaste, says Mingus, but make sure you have one or two tubes on hand. Remember, toothpaste DOES expire, so pay attention to the expiration date of what you already have and whatever you are purchasing. Twenty boxes of toothpaste won’t do any good if they all expire in two years!

Remember, your oral health is the gateway to total body health, so it’s still very important that you care for yourself even when you’re not going anywhere or being seen. Take this time to focus on your family and your health and hopefully you’ll create habits that will last a lifetime.