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Oral health in times of COVID-19

The state of emergency declared by the government in the fight against COVID-19 has brought many sectors to a complete halt, leaving only essential services running like food stores, those supplying basic necessities, pharmacies and transport. Now, all our efforts are focused on saving those infected with COVID-19 and that means that many services like medical appointments and treatments have been postponed or cut to the minimum to prioritize care for patients with coronavirus.

One of the medical services affected is dentistry, where more than 95% of dental clinics have closed and only a few are attending emergency patients. These closures are due to the high risk of infection for dentists and their staff since the main way the virus is passed from one person to another is in the airborne drops from the airways. When we speak or sneeze we expel little drops, called Flügge drops, which have a high viral load, and are the most common way a virus jumps from one person to another, and that is the reason why the health experts insist on social distancing.

In the light of the current situation, Dr. Nestor Montesdeoca, of the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Service at MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid, offers a serious of recommendations we should follow during the state of emergency that we can do at home to prevent problems:

  • Be very careful with your dental hygiene: we must brush thoroughly three times a day, use dental floss or change our toothbrush frequently to help keep our mouths healthy.
  • Healthy diet: making sure we have plenty fruit, vegetables and dairy produce in our diet will also help our oral health.
  • If we have wisdom tooth coming through and it’s causing discomfort, we should brush the area carefully and take a painkiller to relieve the pain.
  • If we have tooth decay and food is getting in, use an interdental brush to clean the area well and be very careful with your oral hygiene in general and reduce the risk of pain.
  • If we use a dental prosthesis and it isn’t fitting well, it’s better not to wear it – it’s better to wait until we can see our dentist again to have it checked and adjusted as needed.