According to the Ontario Dental Association (ODA), there’s still some confusion over what constitutes emergency dental care and also what people can do at home while they can’t go in to see their dentist. ODA’s message is simple: take extra care of your teeth yourself while your dentist can’t.
What Can I Expect From My Dentist?
Every April, the Ontario Dental Association (ODA) celebrates Oral Health Month and encourages everyone to see their dentist. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, only emergency dental care is currently allowed.
All non-essential dental appointments (check-ups, cleanings, teeth whitening, etc.) are being rescheduled so give your dentist a call if you have an upcoming appointment. Dentists who are equipped to treat emergency cases have been receiving guidance from the Ministry of Health to screen patients and refer suspected cases of COVID-19.
If you think you have a serious dental issue, call your dentist. They can talk to you over the phone or, when possible, over a video to determine if your issue requires immediate treatment. A dental emergency includes:
- An injury to the mouth and/or face
- Severe infection, like an abscess or swelling
- Bleeding that continues for a long time
- Dental pain that can’t be managed by over-the-counter medications
If you don’t have a dentist, the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario has a list of emergency dental clinics on its website. Do not go to a hospital emergency room for a dental problem.
Take Care of Your Teeth When Your Dentist Can’t
To help avoid getting into a dental emergency situation, follow these steps:
Brush your teeth! Before brushing your teeth, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Brush your teeth twice a day, for 120 seconds.
Floss is boss. Flossing daily helps remove food debris and bacteria from places your toothbrush can’t reach. It also helps prevent inflammation of the gums, which can affect the immune system.
Be mindful of stress. Regular exercise, meditation and deep breathing can help reduce the negative impact of stress on your mouth and immune system. It can also help if you’re grinding your teeth.
Eat a balanced diet. Eating as much vitamin-rich food and fresh vegetation every day isn’t just great for your teeth, it’s good for your overall health and well-being.
Snack in moderation. Try to stick to healthy snacks and always swish with water after eating to help wash away sugar and acid. Chew sugarless gum to help stimulate saliva flow and avoid dry mouth.
Show your teeth some TLC and take it easy with the THC. Marijuana smoking can cause stained teeth and dry mouth…not to mention the munchies.
Easy on the alcohol. Wine, beer, champagne and mixed drinks can be high in sugar and the carbonation and acid in them can damage your enamel. Plus, chewing on ice cubes can break your teeth!
Smoking stinks. Not only is it terrible for your overall health, but smoking also causes oral cancer, inflammation, stained teeth and bad breath – which is no good when you’re stuck in the house with your family.
For more tips and COVID-19 dental info, go to oda.ca