The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has changed many things. Maintaining good oral hygiene, however, isn’t one of them. When you get a dental cleaning during COVID-19, you can ensure that the facilities and equipment at Dean Dental Solutions will be safe and clean for your next visit.
Here’s a look at the dental setting during COVID-19, the benefits of a dental cleaning, and how poor oral hygiene can harm your overall health.
The dental setting during COVID-19
According to a recent survey from the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), more than 50% of Americans say that the pandemic has caused them to postpone dental checkups. Moreover, 31% reported eating more sweets, and 21% reported not brushing their teeth in the mornings. Many Americans are wondering if the dentist is safe to see during COVID-19.
These numbers make getting a dental cleaning during COVID-19 as important as ever. When you come in for your next appointment, you can expect the dental staff to follow the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association (ADA).
These guidelines include (but are not limited to):
- screening patients for signs and symptoms of the virus
- taking patients’ temperatures
- wearing the right personal protective equipment (PPE), including N95 respirators/masks, isolation gowns, gloves, and face shields or goggles
- routinely cleaning and disinfecting all areas with hospital-grade disinfectant
- encouraging a physical distance of six feet between all people
What to do when you visit
Follow these steps to best protect yourself and others when you come in for your dental cleaning during COVID-19.
1. Wear a mask to the dentist's office.
If you don’t have one, you can get a disposable one at the front desk. Studies have proven that masks reduce the respiratory droplets in the air that transmit the virus from one person to another. Please wear your mask at all times during your visit, and the staff will let you know when to remove it for your cleaning.
2. Use hand sanitizer.
Washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds has proven to be most effective method against the virus. However, when you aren’t near a sink, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead.
When you enter the lobby, use the hand sanitizer to clean your hands. You can also use it at the front desk. This small measure breaks up the virus and protects you until you can wash your hands with soap and water.
3. Let the staff check your temperature and pulse oxygen.
First, the staff at the front desk will check your temperature with a digital thermometer. Then they’ll use a pulse ox, or pulse oximeter, to check the level of oxygen in your bloodstream.
These are painless, noninvasive ways of checking how your body is doing. For example, a healthy person’s pulse ox should be at 95% or above. If your pulse shows 90% or below, the staff will check it again in the surgery room with hospital-grade equipment. And if you still show 90% or below, you can’t get your dental cleaning that day, and the staff will encourage you to get tested for the virus.
The benefits of a dental cleaning
When you get your dental cleaning during COVID-19, you can ensure that the benefits will be as wonderful as ever. Here’s some of what a dental cleaning can do for your smile and oral hygiene.
1. It can help prevent cavities.
You get cavities when plaque, or a sticky, yellowish film of bacteria, builds up on your teeth. After so long, the acidic bacteria break down your enamel, or the outer layer of your teeth, and cause cavities. Along with brushing and flossing twice a day, a professional cleaning will help prevent cavities and will help you maintain good oral hygiene.
2. It can help give you a bright smile.
If you drink a lot of coffee, tea, or wine, you likely have stained teeth. And if you don’t brush and floss often enough, you also likely have tartar buildup, or hardened plaque, that dulls your smile even more.
With a dental cleaning to remove tartar, however, you can look your best for social media and those socially distant selfies. You can also get a boost of confidence and even career success that comes with a bright smile.
3. It can control bad breath.
When plaque builds up on your teeth and gum line, it causes an odor. If you have gum disease, which causes your gums to pull away from your teeth, the odor might be stronger. This is because of the bacteria in the pockets between the teeth and the pulled-away gums.
But when you come in for your cleaning, you’ll leave with the plaque, tartar, and bad breath under control. Until your next visit, keep brushing and flossing twice a day, and use fluoride toothpaste and tartar protection mouthwash to keep bacteria from building back up.
How poor oral hygiene can harm your overall health
Poor oral hygiene can cause or worsen other issues in your body. Here’s some insight into a few potential problems and how a dental cleaning during COVID-19 can help you avoid them.
When the bacteria in your mouth grows from the lack of good oral hygiene, it can cause a serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. Along with potentially causing tooth loss and destroying the bones that hold them in place, the bacteria from periodontitis could enter your bloodstream.
When this happens, you risk plaque buildup in your arteries. This can cause poor blood flow, which in turn can cause high blood pressure and a heart attack. This means that something as simple as a dental cleaning could help you avoid a fatal situation.
Infection in your body raises your blood sugar. And when your blood sugar stays high, your white blood cells can’t fight infection as they normally would. So without dental cleanings and proper at-home care, the bacteria in your mouth can eventually cause diabetes and a lifetime of blood sugar management.
The bacteria in your mouth can also cause respiratory infections when it spreads through your sinuses and lungs. These infections could include a cold, the flu, or pneumonia. This makes dental cleanings far more important than you may realize in the effort to keep your body healthy.
Ready to smile brighter than ever?
When you get your dental cleaning during COVID-19, know that the equipment and facilities at Dean Dental Solutions will be safe, clean, and ready to give you a bright smile.
You can also pair your new smile with straightened teeth, which gives them symmetry and gives your confidence an extra boost. For a less-painful alternative to braces, ask your dentist about Invisalign and how it can straighten your teeth without anyone noticing — even you!
Contact us today at (501) 271-3699, or fill out this form to schedule an appointment!