When you leave your house, are you wearing gloves and a mask? Do you practice social distancing while at the grocery store? Are you taking all the proper precautions to keep you and your family safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic? If you answered “yes,” that is great, but do you know about the ways you can improve your oral hygiene and further decrease your risk of contracting this infectious disease? If not, read on to learn about four additional things you can do to better protect you and your smile from COVID-19.
Wash Your Hands
Before brushing your teeth, go ahead and use soap and water to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. The reason for this is to not only practice good hand hygiene like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends but to also prevent any germs that are on your hands from touching your toothbrush or mouth.
Because the virus can be easily transmitted by touching your face or mouth, it is always best to practice thorough handwashing before practicing any task that requires your hands to make contact with your mouth in any way.
Disinfect Your Toothbrush Weekly
What exactly is the proper way to disinfect your toothbrush? Well, you can start by soaking the handle and brush in a mixture of bleach and water. Simply mix one-part household bleach with nine parts water. If you’d rather not use bleach or the idea of it being on your toothbrush is a bit too concerning, you can use a 70% alcohol solution instead.
Other safe and effective ways to disinfect your toothbrush is to boil it for 5 full minutes or run it through a full dishwasher cycle.
Replace Your Toothbrush
No matter if it’s COVID-19 or another bacterial or viral infection, always replace your toothbrush afterward. Germs can live on your oral appliance for days. If you want to avoid getting sick again, make sure you purchase a new toothbrush (if using a manual one) or replace the brush head of your electric toothbrush. Just make sure that when using your new brush that you practice appropriate safety precautions.
Avoid Using Toothbrush Holders
Anything that closes around a toothbrush or is a hotbed for germs. Also, keeping your toothbrush in a dark, damp location (in a drawer) can make it hard to keep your brush sterile. Instead of using those travel holders, let your toothbrush remain in an open container after brushing. It will be necessary to disinfect these objects. Also, avoid keeping it anywhere near the toilet. When flushing, aerosols are released that can travel and land on your toothbrush. As a result, you can get sick.
It’s easy to disregard or not think about how your oral hygiene practices can make it easier or harder for you to contract COVID-19, but by following these simple rules and contacting your dentist for additional assistance/advice, you can keep your mouth and body healthy during this time.
About the Practice
At Dent-Plant Dental Implant Center, we know right now is a difficult time for everyone. Trying to maintain a level of normalcy is hard when forced to practice social distancing or self-isolation. Fortunately, our team can provide some tips and advice on what you can do during this time to improve your oral health and actually avoid contracting this highly infectious disease. If you or a loved one want to learn how to best care for your teeth and gums while at home, contact us via our website or by calling (571) 352-9006.