How Does the COVID-19 Outbreak Affect Your Orthodontic Care?

By April 8, 2020Orthodontics

Person using water pick to clean around bracesThe American Association of Orthodontists has recommended all orthodontists nationwide keep their offices closed until April 30th. This is for the safety of both patients and staff as well as to do our part to slow the rate of transmission of the virus in our area.

What if I have an orthodontic emergency?

We are guided to use our judgment in the event of emergency care required.  This includes care that will relieve pain and/or infection, is trauma-related, or is critically necessary to prevent harm to the patient.

If you are not sure if your situation is an emergency call us and we will get your data and work out the best approach to your situation.

Keep your mouth healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Your oral hygiene health is vital to your overall health. Oral infections can lead to infections in other parts of your body. For example, poor oral health can lead to various conditions such as endocarditis (infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers and heart valves.) cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, pregnancy, and birth complications. So now more than ever, it is vital to keep your mouth and teeth healthy.

A daily routine is a must!

Floss

It is best to floss before you brush your teeth. Flossing dislodges food wedged between your teeth. Regular flossing may also reduce gum disease and bad breath by removing plaque that forms along the gum line. Read up on properly flossing with braces.

Brush at least twice a day

Brush at least in the morning and before bedtime. Take your time and brush for two minutes.

Use a good toothbrush

You want to use a soft-bristle toothbrush. Toothbrushes wear and bristles become frayed and worn and therefore may lose their effectiveness.  We recommend changing your toothbrush out every three months.

How to take care of your mouth when you are sick

In addition to keeping good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily, when you are sick here are some other important points to follow:

  • Do not share your toothbrush!
    Do not share your toothbrush with anyone else at any time and keep it separate from all other toothbrushes of the family. We also advise you use a separate toothpaste container to avoid the risk of sharing your illness with anyone else.
  • Choose sugar-free cough drops.
    Many cough drops contain sugar so it’s like sucking on candy. Cavity-causing bacteria thrive on this sugar. So read the label before you pick up a bag at the drug store.
  • Swish and spit after vomiting.
    When a person vomits, acids in the stomach come up into the mouth and coat the teeth. Rather than brushing, which will just spread the acid around on your teeth, you can swish with water, a diluted mouth rinse or a mix of water and 1 tsp of baking soda. After 30 minutes, it is safer to brush your teeth.
  • Stay Hydrated!
    It is very easy to become dehydrated when you are sick.  You lose water through sweating, diarrhea, vomiting, etc. Also medications can make your mouth dry. When you become dehydrated and your mouth becomes dry, you do not have enough saliva to bathe your teeth and help prevent cavities. This is often referred to as “dry mouth”. To avoid this, drink water, teas or drinks with electrolytes to keep your body hydrated.  Avoid drinks loaded with sugar such as sodas and fruit juice. If you drink fruit juice try diluting it with water or soda water and try to drink it in moderation.

Some additional points from your Orthodontist:

Elastics

For our current patients with braces, I want to stress that you need to continue to wear your elastics as prescribed. It is very hard to overdue on elastics. If they are overdone, usually reducing wear time allows for everything to rebound into perfection!

Clear Aligners

For our patients wearing clear aligners, such as Invisalign, we recommend that you wear each aligner for 2-3 weeks. We ask that you stretch each aligner’s use time out in case we are not allowed to see you for a longer time than expected to order a new set of aligners.

Be Careful

One last thing I would like to add is a request for all to be exceptionally careful not to break things as we are very limited on what care we are able to provide during this unique time.

Summary

Dental hygiene is always important for maintaining good health. We hope you follow the above advice and stay safe and healthy. If you think you may have an orthodontic emergency don’t hesitate to call us at 801-266-2662.

Sincerely,

Dr. David McDonough
McDonough Orthodontics