One thought that must be troubling many of us amid COVID-19 pandemic, is that of a sudden and unexpected sickness. And what if somebody suffers from pain in any body part, especially the tooth? One shudders to think of a scenario where a person confined to home has unbearable pain and no access to doctor or medicines.
While in the current lockdown situation, such experiences will be more or less inevitable, at the same time, there are many regular do's and don'ts that could make a huge difference. Let us start with the best and easy thing to do, that is drinking plenty of water and keeping oneself hydrated. As a preventive measure, we could avoid or reduce intake of 'white food' like white bread, maida, and sugar. It is better to have more salads and fruits instead.
(Also Read: COVID-19: 5 Diet Tips For Boosting Immunity)
The Do's And Don't's: Everything You Need To Know About Rinsing, Flossing, Brushing
Since you are at home, there is a tendency to keep munching the whole day. Be aware of what you are eating and keep a tab on the quantity. Brushing twice a day is mandatory but since you will be eating in between meals. Keep a tooth brush handy and lightly brush after every meal too remove residual food immediately. Remember to floss at least once a day before bed time. You can use a mouth wash or rinse with warm saline water morning and night. Take care not to use your teeth to open a bottle or hair pin as the tooth might fracture. Massage gums after brushing with a clean finger for two minutes as this improves blood circulation.
Remember to clean your tongue in the morning and night with a tongue cleaner which is easily available in medical stores. This will reduce bacteria build up and thereby prevent bad breath. Never use a tooth pick or pin to remove food stuck in between teeth as you could end up harming your gums and causing an infection. Rather try to remove it by brushing and flossing.
Children Need Special Attention
This is the best time to reinforce good habits among children who should be taught correct dietary and oral hygiene measures. Since they are completely under parental watch during these days, you could make a diet chart of the food they consume. This gives you an idea of their sugar intake. Keep a brush handy and help them with brushing so that they get the technique right. Showing them engaging videos of right brushing techniques would work best for them. It is better to avoid stocking chocolates and sticky candies in the house and encourage them to make a note of how many candies they eat.
(Also Read: How COVID-19 Lockdown Affected Children's Diet And Health)
At A Higher Risk, Elderly Must Be Cautious
Elderly people should be careful and avoid eating hard nuts so that they don't break any tooth or hurting a loose tooth, if any. They must avoid using tooth pick or pins to remove food. Also, brushing twice a day and rinsing with warm saline water after every meal should be a part of their routine. A gentle massage with mustard oil and salt on gums will help in case it is swollen. If they use dentures handle them with care especially while cleaning so that it doesn't fall and break. If there is pain on wearing denture, it is okay to remove it and let the gums rest for few hours. They can keep denture clean by brushing after meals.
Youngsters Must Be Very Careful As Well
Given their food habits and experimental taste buds, the youngsters these days must try to stick to healthy foods. Young people can follow good oral hygiene by brushing twice and rinsing after every meal. This is a good time to give up on the habit of smoking. This is also a good time to cleanse the body by drinking plenty of water and avoiding aerated drinks completely. The fast food like pizza and cheese puffs are better avoided but if you have to eat it, then due care must be followed as the hot cheese might burn your palate. One habit that is very common is to open bottles with teeth and it could prove disastrous if gone wrong.
How many of you know that chewing gum for more than 15-20 minutes could tire your joint? Most of us would not even pay heed to such warnings during normal times but during lockdown, it is not a bad idea to be a little more cautious.
Tackling Toothaches And Cavities!
If you experience a toothache during this time, focus and understand the nature of pain and when it increases or decreases. If you get a shooting pain on having cold food, it would be good to avoid that. If the pain increases on having hot tea, get in touch with your dentist and take advise. If it is a pain in the gums, rinse with warm saline water and gently massage that area with your finger. Take medication only after consultation with your dentist and do remember to reveal your medical history and allergies to your dentist.
And what if the case crown falls off? No need to panic at all, rather just keep it safely until you reach out to your dentist. In case filling falls out, avoid chewing on that side. Avoid using a tooth pick if food gets stuck. In a populous country like India, there are bound to have emergency cases. In such eventuality, the best thing to do would be treading carefully. If one is suffering from severe pain radiating to the head, a tooth fracture, or a case of an accidental fall with tooth or jaw fracture, do remember not to do warm compression from outside. In this situation, it is advisable not to self-medicate but reach out to dentist immediately.
(Also Read: 5 Oral Hygiene Rituals You Must Follow Daily)
Never Believe The Floating Myths
There are many myths about treating various dental issues which could complicate things. In case anybody suffers from a sudden case of toothache, never ever place hot compress on your face and as mentioned earlier, avoid using a tooth pick to remove food stuck in between teeth. There is also a mistake that is done repeatedly by many which is to put the clove or alum directly on the gums. Trust me, it will cause a burn and you won't like it at all. So, the golden rule is to look before you leap and avoid any quick fix solution.
About Author:Dr Bhavani Nair is the Zonal Clinical Head at Clove Dental.
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