Recommendations For Good Oral Hygiene During The Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus Pandemic: Tips For Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that is similar to the flu. The main symptoms associated with the coronavirus include a cough, fever, and difficulty breathing (in severe cases). Those most at risk of contracting the disease are people with underlying health conditions and weakened immune systems. 

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the CDC recommends practicing good general hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly, social distancing, and not touching your face. In addition to this, it is also crucial to practice good oral hygiene to help prevent you and your family from getting sick. Below outlines a few helpful oral hygiene tips. 

brushing

General & Oral Hygiene Tips

Many people do not realize their toothbrush can harbor bacteria, blood, and saliva. Not only does improper toothbrush care result in poor oral hygiene over time, but it can also spread contagious diseases, such as COVID-19. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends following these toothbrush hygiene guidelines:

Clean & Disinfect Your Toothbrush

The coronavirus can stay on surfaces for up to three days, and this does include toothbrushes. However, you can disinfect your toothbrush daily by rinsing it in 0.5 percent hydrogen peroxide for up to 15 minutes. This solution can kill COVID-19 bacteria in about one minute. Make sure you rinse off your toothbrush before brushing. 

Other Ways to Keep your Toothbrush Clean
  • If you do not have hydrogen peroxide, you can rinse your toothbrush under hot water for a few minutes or boil it in hot water (disposable toothbrushes only, NOT electric toothbrushes)
  • Never share your toothbrushes
  • Make sure it gets fresh air
  • When the tips become frayed or discolored, throw it out

Replace Your Toothbrush or Toothbrush Head Often

Everyone is supposed to replace their electric toothbrush head or disposable toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. During the coronavirus pandemic, dentists recommend replacing them more often than this. Or, at the very least, every 3 months. 

Properly Store Your Toothbrush

Allow your toothbrush to dry after each use by keeping it in an upright position. This helps prevent the spread and growth of bacteria.

Practice Good Oral Care At Home

Maintaining good oral hygiene at home is always necessary to prevent cavities, gum disease, and other conditions. However, it is especially important to take care of your teeth and mouth during the coronavirus pandemic to prevent the spread of disease. 

Essential tips for practicing good oral care at home include:

  • Use an antiseptic mouth rinse often to kill germs and bacteria in your mouth.
  • Drink fluoridated water often.
  • Brush your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste twice per day.
  • Floss your teeth daily to remove plaque buildup.
  • Drink less alcohol and don’t smoke tobacco.

Wash Your Hands & Clean Common Areas Often

The CDC recommends washing your hands for at least 20 seconds a few times each day to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you have to leave your house for any reason, you should wash your hands directly after returning home. Hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol is also capable of killing the coronavirus. 

The CDC also recommends cleaning hard surfaces, soft surfaces, and electronics with a disinfectant cleaner containing at least 70 percent alcohol.

Don’t Touch Your Face or Mouth

In addition to washing your hands and cleaning your home regularly, do not touch your face, lips, mouth, eyes, and ears with dirty hands. If you bite your nails, refrain from doing so as much as possible to prevent contracting COVID-19. 

Reschedule Non-Urgent Dentist Appointments

Most dentists around the world are only taking appointments for people with life-threatening dental conditions. Non-essential dentist appointments, such as teeth cleanings, dental exams, cavity fillings, and other restorative procedures, will need to be rescheduled. 

Read more about COVID-19 and dentist appointments here

Resources

“Advice for Public.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public.

Dave, Manas, et al. “Urgent Dental Care for Patients during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The Lancet, 2020, doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(20)30806-0.

“If You Are Sick or Caring for Someone.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 Mar. 2020, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/index.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html.

“Oral Health Tips.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 Sept. 2019, www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/basics/adult-oral-health/tips.html.

Team, Family Health. “Boil, Soak or Pitch It? 4 Tips for a Clean Toothbrush.” Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, 20 Nov. 2019, health.clevelandclinic.org/wash-it-soak-it-pitch-it-4-tips-for-a-clean-toothbrush/.

Updated on: May 20, 2020
Author
Alyssa Hill
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