Many dentists have recently closed as a result of government guidance instructing all non-essential workers to work from home or close business for the time being, and as a result thousands of routine dental appointments have been cancelled. Many people will be concerned not only about the virus and restrictions on social contact and leaving their homes, but also about how to maintain their physical, mental and oral health when many services are reduced.
Personal hygiene during the coronavirus
There are a number of ways you can reduce the risk of catching coronavirus, and many of these are related to personal hygiene and how you look after your body and health. Here are a number of top tips you can follow:
- Washing your hands: wash your hands with warm water and soapy water OR an alcohol-based hand sanitiser (at least 60% alcohol content) for a minimum of 20 seconds. This should be done throughout the day at regular intervals, and especially if you have gone out to the supermarket or a public place where you could have picked up the virus on your hands.
- Cleaning your house: keeping your surfaces clean and disinfecting them each day means the virus could is not able to survive on one of these surfaces, where it could be touched and picked up by someone in your house. Doorknobs and phones are other items you may want to clean regularly.
- Coughing or sneezing: you should maintain distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing, as the coronavirus is often transmitted person to person via ‘respiratory droplets’ – the droplets which can spray when an infected person does either of these things. If you personally have a cough or sneeze regularly, ensure to do this into your elbow and not into the open.
- Avoid touching particular areas of your face: As much as possible, try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth, as these are areas where coronavirus could enter your body should you have a trace of the virus on your hands.
Can’t see the dentist? Best practice for looking after your teeth in isolation
The NHS website has important advice which applies to both adults and children in how they can look after their teeth and limit the need to book an appointment with the dentist. Now, when many dentists are inaccessible, following this is paramount. You can encourage children to come up with a fun teeth cleaning routine in the morning and evening and help them understand the importance of the following advice too.
- Brush your teeth twice a day, ideally after breakfast in the morning and after dinner in the evening
- Floss between your teeth (using floss or an interdental brush, both of which can be purchased at your local supermarket)
- Limit the amount of sugar and alcohol in your diet, and avoid smoking to look after your teeth and gums
- Start brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as they come through
Staying active, eating healthy and doing the things you love will also benefit both your physical and mental health. Your body and your teeth deserve the best care and giving them attention during the next few months will no doubt make a big difference to how you feel when work and social restrictions are lifted in the future.