Why maintaining oral hygiene during the pandemic times is crucial?

brushing teeth
Oral hygiene deserves special care, especially during the pandemic times. Image courtesy: Kzenon/Shutterstock

International Gum Health Day is celebrated every year on 12 May to increase public awareness about gum diseases and also the importance of keeping gums healthy and strong. Oral hygiene deserves special care, especially during pandemic times. Good brushing habits play a vital role in maintaining the health of the gums and prevent severe gum diseases.

How do you choose the right toothbrush?

Toothbrushes are available in soft, medium and hard varieties depending upon the texture of the bristles. A medium toothbrush is best for daily and regular use. However, those who have sensitivity and gum diseases and those who have had surgeries in mouth or gum receding should use toothbrushes with softer bristles. A hard toothbrush could be used to clean dentures.

Are flexible toothbrushes better than non-flexible ones?

Toothbrushes that have flexible necks could easily remove stains and plaque in hard–to–reach areas in the mouth.

Who requires powered or battery-operated toothbrushes

Bystanders could easily manage using powered toothbrushes while assisting bedridden patients or old people. Besides, differently-abled people or those with the nervous disorder that affects movements of hands, like patients with Parkinson’s disease, can use a battery-operated toothbrushes.

What precautions should a COVID-19 patient take while brushing teeth?

If someone in the family tests positive for COVID-19 or are quarantining, a separate oral hygiene kit should be prepared for them. Make sure that there are essentials like a soft toothbrush, cream toothpaste, dental floss and a bottle of mouth wash in the kit. In case the patient uses dentures, then special pills that are used to clean them too should be included in the kit. After the patient has recovered, this oral hygiene kit should be appropriately discarded. As the virus would be present in the toothbrush, it is not safe to continue using it even after testing negative.

What kind of toothbrushes is suitable for children?

Kids’ toothbrushes are easily available in the market. Toothbrushes that are meant for adults shouldn’t be used for kids. Finger toothbrushes that could be fixed on the mother’s index finger could be used until the kid is two years old. Chewable toothbrushes that could spit out after brushing are the latest entrant into the market.

How often should you change toothbrushes?

You should replace toothbrushes every 6 – 8 weeks or when the bristles fray, whichever comes first.

What is the correct method of brushing?

Tilt your brush at a 45-degree angle against the gum line. Gently brush the upper teeth in a downward motion and then brush the lower teeth in an upward motion. The chewing surface should be brushed in a circular motion. Meanwhile, the inner surface could be cleaned by holding the brush at a 45-degree angle and then brushing back and forth.

How often should you brush your teeth?

Brush your teeth twice, in the morning and at night, for three minutes each.

How much toothpaste should you use?

The toothpaste must be squeezed into the bristles and not on top of them. This would increase the friction and will remove stains better.

What is the most sanitary way to store toothbrushes?

After using, rinse the toothbrush well and shake off the excess water before keeping it in a brush holder or a cup. Do not keep it on a flat surface as the water could seep into the bristles and breed bacteria. Similarly, the brush holder or the cup shouldn’t have a lid, as the moisture that gets trapped on the bristles could cause infection. Make sure that the toothbrush is kept at least six feet away from the toilet. It is better to store the toothbrush not in the bathroom but at a different place. The brush holder or the cup should be placed in a safe spot where insects or lizards do not reach. You could rinse the toothbrush every morning in lukewarm water or using mouth wash before using it. It is not hygienic at all to use somebody else’s toothbrush.

When should you delay brushing?

You shouldn’t brush your teeth within an hour after having fruit juices, soft drinks that are alkaline in nature, soda, lemon juice or pickle. This would wear off the minerals and would cause tooth decay.

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