Although some dental offices have reopened, a lot of people are putting off their appointments due to the coronavirus pandemic and fear of saliva spraying into the air, further spreading the virus.
But a Redondo Beach dental hygienist revealed that face masks may indeed increase the risk of getting cavities, which is all the more reason to bite the bullet and schedule an appointment. She also said there are tips and at-home cleaning techniques during quarantine that can help until you can schedule a visit.
"Wearing a mask causes people to breath through their mouth rather than their nose. This can lead to bacteria sticking to the front of your teeth," said Michaela Lee, a registered dental hygienist with Redondo Beach Dental Group.
She also said that people are more susceptible to COVID-19 when they have poor dental hygiene, and inflammation of gums and dry mouth can occur.
To maintain good oral hygiene, Lee recommends brushing three times a day, instead of the standard two. Also, it is important to use an antiseptic mouthwash, like Listerine Zero, which is a mouthwash without alcohol. Mouthwash without alcohol can target the bad bacteria, while leaving more of the good bacteria in your mouth.
People also may be snacking more during the pandemic, which is all the more reason to brush more often, a West Covina dentist said, who recommended eating small, non-sugary foods if you're going to be snacking.
Redondo Beach Dental Group, like many offices likely retrofitting in the age of the coronavirus pandemic, has also been taking necessary steps to maintain the health and safety of patients and staff as they welcome clients back during quarantine, such as:
- Patients will fill out an exposure questionnaire
- The office asks patients to reschedule their appointments if anyone in household has been sick
- Spacing out all patients
- Temperature checks
- Patients rinse with hydrogen peroxide at the start of each visit to reduce bacteria in their mouths
- There is a medical grade Hepa filter in each room
- Using a large HVE vacuum -- this suctions the aerosols created during the cleaning to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Tips for patients:
- Brush and floss before your visit
- Wear a mask
- Call before entering the dental office