Coronavirus and Dental Patients
Coronavirus or COVID-19 as it is properly called, is causing a huge amount of fear and anxiety. It is a virus which attacks our respiratory system – our lungs and everything that leads to them. You will have seen the news. All of the statistics about reported cases and number of deaths. Why is the only advice given is to wash our hands?
Coronavirus symptoms can be identified in a number of ways:
- An increase in temperature indicates a viral infection. This not necessarily COVID-19. There are a lot of flu type viruses around. This is the time of year. It could simply be that.
- Headaches are often associated with higher temperatures and COVID-19 is no different. Do you have a persistent headache? The potential for you having Coronavirus is increased.
- General flu-like symptoms can be a sign of Coronavirus. These symptoms can be sneezing, irritated sinuses and a runny nose.
- Coronavirus is a respiratory infection which attacks the lungs. Medical experts are suggesting you take a deep breath, and hold it for ten seconds. Do you feel the need to cough? The likelihood of infection is greater. If these four steps are positive, contact 111 immediately.
We are only a few months into the discovery of COVID-19 and, as yet, we do not have an antidote available. We must rely on more traditional methods of protection. Hygiene is absolutely vital as the best barrier to protect ourselves against this new Coronavirus.
As humans, we use our hands constantly. It may be to send a message on our phones/laptops, or to pick up a sandwich at lunchtime or something for the evening dinner. Reports say that COVID-19 can exist on a surface for between 4 and 72 hours. Everything we touch should be carefully handled. Critically, we need to wash our hands as frequently as possible. If it’s more convenient then an antibacterial gel can be used. The next time you eat a sandwich, or a crisp, or a piece of chocolate, think of where your hands have touched. Have you been on your phone? Did you push a shopping trolley? Have you opened a door? Did you use an ATM or a touch screen in McDonalds?
Your respiratory tract
The respiratory tract starts at our nose and mouth, leads through a series of airways to our lungs. Although vital, hand hygiene is not the only preventative measure we can take. Just as important is oral hygiene and controlling the levels of bacteria in your mouth, the largest avenue to your lungs and your stomach. At no time has oral hygiene been so critically important!
How do you control bacteria in your mouth?
Your tongue allows you to differentiate between hot and cold. It allows you to taste the difference between sweet, sour, salty or spicy. It is highly sensitive and triggers reactions throughout the rest of our bodies (ever had brain freeze from ice-cream, or eaten a chilli that was crazy hot?). This vital organ gathers bacteria. This bacteria must be controlled! Your dentist and hygienist will suggest a tongue scraper or brush. This is to loosen bacterial cells on your tongue and flush them out. Use a good mouthwash, one that won’t darken the enamel on your teeth. It will help to flush out harmful bacteria and reduce the impact that viruses may have on this entrance to your breathing system.
Bacteria between your teeth
Plaque is a host to bacteria. Fighting plaque will protect your teeth and gums from a build-up of bacteria. As well as using a toothbrush, you must floss too. Use a brush that gets between your teeth to break down any plaque. Change your toothbrush more regularly, and keep it well away from your toilet. By doing this you will reduce the chance of bacterial growth on your toothbrush and potential cross-infection.
Maintaining Oral Hygiene
Our friends at YourDentistsRecommends.com have put together a Proactive Oral Hygiene Package and we share this with you. You can share it with your family and friends. It includes a Dentek Tongue Brush, a bottle of Curasept mouthwash, a non-plastic bamboo toothbrush and bamboo interdental brushes for between your teeth. Your normal toothpaste will support these products. We have not added it to the suggested list. (They do sell a variety of toothpastes if you need them!).
Our advice is:
- Wash your hands as often as you can and for as long as you can.
- Keep hand to face movements to a minimum.
- Think about how you are putting food in your mouth.
- Use your elbow to cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Reduce the level of physical contact between you and others.
- Ensure that your oral hygiene is the best it can be.
Stay healthy, be responsible and look after others.