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Supplementary dental health and oral hygiene recommendations during COVID-19 pandemic

Based on the official CDC recommendations and other reputable sources.

Disinfect your toothbrush if you are sick

If you suspect that you or another member from your household is infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, you should regularly disinfect areas and objects that may have body fluids on them.

Toothbrushes may have saliva or blood on them and have been shown to transmit viruses. A recent study discovered that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can stay on the surfaces for up to 3 days. For toothbrush disinfection, you can use 3% hydrogen peroxide or dilute it to 0.5% hydrogen peroxide.

0.5% hydrogen peroxide effectively reduces human coronaviruses infectivity in just 1 minute, a recent study analysis found. 0.5% HP is an active ingredient in the products that are listed on the government list of approved disinfectants against the Sars-COV-2 coronavirus. To get a 0.5% HP solution dilute 3% HP with distilled water.

Mix

Mix the 1fl oz of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 5 fl oz of distilled water to get 6 fl oz of 0.5% hydrogen peroxide solution.

Soak

Soak your toothbrush bristles in the 0.5% hydrogen peroxide solution for 10 minutes. Never use the same cleaning solution again.

Rinse

Rinse the toothbrush with tap water before you start brushing your teeth.

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Exercise caution during dental visits

Regulations concerning the safe practice of dentistry during the spread of COVID-19 depend on the specific epidemiological situation in each area.

According to the last update of the American Dental Association, elective procedures are allowed in every state. More and more regions also restore non-urgent procedures, such as: preventive care, orthodontic treatment, and dental implant surgery.

Both CDC and ADA do advocate reopening offices with regard to reason and vigilance. Dentists are obligated to comply with the rules of the sanitary regime. All decisions should still be consulted with local and state health departments.

The goal is to provide dental care without endangering the health or life of patients or personnel.

Since the situation is still developing, you should take extra precautionary steps when visiting the dental office.

  • Provide information about your health status over the phone prior to your visit.
  • Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis when traveling to the dentist.
  • Show up at the appointed time. If you arrive earlier, wait for your visit in the car instead of the waiting room.
  • Avoid close contact with other people in the waiting area. Cover your mouth and nose.
  • Wash and disinfect your hands upon arrival. Consider taking a hand-sanitizer with you.
  • Avoid touching your face, mouth, or teeth after a complete dental procedure.
  • Don’t use cash. Pay with a credit card, use dental insurance or discount dental plans.
  • Be prepared for additional safety procedures according to your dentist’s instructions.

Call your dentist

Contact your dentist and find out more about the possibility of scheduling visits other than dental emergencies (whitening, cleaning, check-up, x-rays). Consider using at-home OTC dental products like invisible braces and teeth whitening kits at this time.

Stay at home

Don’t visit a dentist in situations that aren’t urgent if you are over the age of 60 or have a pre-existing medical condition (cardiac disease, asthma, diabetes, cancer, other). Stay at home and seek medical attention if you have symptoms like a fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

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Improve your oral hygiene habits

Every little thing you do matters. Practice good oral hygiene to keep yourself healthy.

Take proper care of your oral health: brush and floss your teeth twice a day. An emergency dentist should be your last resort.

Wash your hands often

Wash your hands with soap and water before and after brushing or flossing. Don’t touch your mouth, lips, teeth, gums, or tongue with dirty hands.

Replace your toothbrush

You should replace your toothbrush regularly every 3-4 months or when the bristles become worn.

Store toothbrush properly

Store toothbrushes in an upright position and allow them to air dry. Toothbrushes should be kept inches apart from each other.

Don’t share your toothbrush

Sharing a toothbrush could result in an exchange of bodily fluids and microorganisms. About 8,2 million people in the U.S. share their toothbrushes.

Don’t share your food

Don’t share food, drinks, eating utensils, drinking containers, dishes, glasses, cups, cutlery, straws, etc.

Don’t bite your nails

Biting nails is terrible for your teeth and overall health. It also spreads viruses and bacteria. About 99 million people in the U.S. bite nails.

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Sources and references:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/dental-settings.html
https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/disinfection-methods/chemical.html#Hydrogen
https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2590088920300081#!
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.09.20033217v2
https://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(14)63689-8/abstract
https://www.ada.org/en/press-room/news-releases/2020-archives/march/ada-calls-upon-dentists-to-postpone-elective-procedures
https://www.ada.org/en/press-room/news-releases/2020-archives/april/postponement-statement
https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2020-archive/june/cdc-guidance-for-dental-settings-echoes-ada-guidance
https://success.ada.org/en/practice-management/patients/covid-19-state-mandates-and-recommendations
https://dental.ohio.gov/News/ohio-state-dental-board-covid-19-advisory-2020-01-march-16-2020