How to Take Care of Your Teeth During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Cocofloss, $9 (Shop Now)Add Some Dentist-Approved Tools to Your KitPros recommend that we replace our toothbrush every three to four months, so if you’re overdue, grab a new one. Once you have a fresh brush, remember to store it upright, in a dry place, away from anyone else’s brush. Another helpful gadgets to consider buying: an electric toothbrush, “which can help with the efficiency of cleaning,” according to Alphonse Matrone, a dentist in Olyphant, Pennsylvania.We Like: Oral B Pro 500, $29.99 (Shop Now) and Philips Sonicare DiamondClean, $189.95 (Shop Now)”I started using [a water floss and brush] and my teeth feel squeaky clean,” notes Nejad. Mouthwash is a great extra step to solve for any concerns you might have.We Like: Conair Interplak Cordless Portable Water Flossing System, $25 (Shop Now)Cavity prone? Try a rinse with fluoride or a nano silver formula. “Silver nano kills bacteria, disrupts plaque, and encourages mineral re-building,” Nejad adds. Dry mouth? Try an alcohol-free formula, which can prevent dehydration. “If you use a retainer or aligners, you can buy over-the-counter cleansing tablets to help keep them germ-free,” explains Ollins. “But please don’t boil your retainer as a means of disinfection, as it will warp the structure and make it ineffective,” he warns.We Like: Listerine Total Care Anticavity Mouthwash, $7, (Shop Now)Elementa Nano Silver Adult Rinse, $25, (Shop Now) Retainer Brite Tablets, $14 (Shop Now)Try a Post-Snack SwishBrushing immediately after eating or drinking can be too abrasive if you just had something acidic like coffee or fruit. Instead, Nejad recommends swishing some water around your mouth, then brushing 30 minutes later. “This restores a normal pH and activates saliva, which is your natural defense against bacteria and plaque,” says Nejad. Try this after drinking cocktails, too. Alcohol can cause dry mouth, which is a breeding ground for plaque and bacteria, but swishing water can counteract that.Prevent Stress-Induced GrindingWe’re all more stressed than usual right now, which can lead to overnight grinding. “Grinding can have short term effects, like jaw soreness, and long term effects, like TMJ and nerve damage,” explains Matrone. “There are mouth guards you can try, but an unwinding pre-bedtime routine might be the best defense as it sets the tone for how well you sleep, which can reduce or eliminate grinding,” he adds. His recommendations: Read a book (not the news), listen to chill music, or meditate.Keep in Touch With Your DentistIf you’re experiencing any pain or symptoms, don’t hesitate to call or email your dentist. Many can assess and diagnose the situation virtually through teledentistry and might have a simple at home solution for you. “We’re always available. If patients need us, we never want them to feel like we’re not available to them,” expresses Ollins. “We are embracing technology in new ways and we’ll find a way to cater to them and make it work. We even have instructional videos on our site that teach patients how to take pictures so we can troubleshoot together. We want to keep in touch and be there for you during this time.”

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