March 6, 2021

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Self-care of teeth and gums essential to avoid emergencies during pandemic

Photo: Visula Hunt

Puerto Rico In times of COVID-19, where social distancing is promoted as the most effective method to prevent the spread of the virus, self-care of teeth and gums is necessary to avoid emergency visits to the dentist.

In his campaign Spread healthy habits, the Department of Health (DS) of Puerto Rico advises to consume healthy foods, avoid soft drinks and sugary foods such as sweets, flavored milk, bananas, among others, and if you do consume them, wash your teeth well.

It also recommends that pregnant women should take care of their teeth to avoid any complications and children should not go to bed with a bottle, as this increases their risk of cavities and other oral health conditions.

On the other hand, the DS recommends that people with removable dentures wash them using an extra soft brush, with soap and water. Likewise, it is important that they remove their teeth before going to sleep.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, for its acronym in English), if the mouth has any disease, physical health will be affected, digestion, and even self-esteem.

Poor oral health can lead to problems. If you don’t take care of your teeth and gums, you can suffer from oral and facial pain, tooth loss, problems with the heart and other important organs (from mouth infections), digestion problems that can lead to intestinal failure or colon syndrome irritable, among others.

To avoid going to the dentist in times of COVID-19, you need to take care of your oral health every day at home by doing the following:

  • Brush your teeth for two to three minutes, at least twice a day, with fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Use dental floss daily to remove plaque from the places your brush cannot reach.
  • Eat a healthy diet to provide the necessary nutrients (vitamins A and C, in particular) to prevent gum disease.
  • Avoid cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, which can contribute to gum disease and oral cancer.

If you have an oral health emergency, call your dentist and ask what to do. Avoid visiting emergency rooms in hospitals for oral problems. They should only be used for patients with severe respiratory complications, related to COVID-19 or some other critical situation.

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