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Supplementary dental health and oral hygiene recommendations during COVID-19 pandemic

Based on the official CDC recommendations and other reputable sources.

Disinfect your toothbrush if you are sick

If you suspect that you or another member from your household is infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, you should regularly disinfect areas and objects that may have body fluids on them.

Toothbrushes may have saliva or blood on them and have been shown to transmit viruses. A recent study discovered that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can stay on the surfaces for up to 3 days. For toothbrush disinfection, you can use 3% hydrogen peroxide or dilute it to 0.5% hydrogen peroxide.

0.5% hydrogen peroxide effectively reduces human coronaviruses infectivity in just 1 minute, a recent study analysis found. 0.5% HP is an active ingredient in the products that are listed on the government list of approved disinfectants against the Sars-COV-2 coronavirus. To get a 0.5% HP solution dilute 3% HP with distilled water.

Mix

Mix the 1fl oz of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 5 fl oz of distilled water to get 6 fl oz of 0.5% hydrogen peroxide solution.

Soak

Soak your toothbrush bristles in the 0.5% hydrogen peroxide solution for 10 minutes. Never use the same cleaning solution again.

Rinse

Rinse the toothbrush with tap water before you start brushing your teeth.

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Postpone any non-essential dental visits

American Dental Association recommends postponing any non-emergency dental visits during the next 3 weeks (until April 30th, 2020, and potentially longer) for everyone’s safety. Your availability to visit a dentist during the next few weeks may be limited.

If you have a dental emergency, such as pain in a tooth, continuous bleeding, gum infection, or a knocked tooth, you may be able to visit your dentist at this time. Call ahead and provide as much detail as possible about your condition. Be prepared to take extra precautionary steps, according to your dentist’s instructions.

Call your dentist

Contact your dentist and reschedule your dental appointment if it’s not an emergency (check-up, x-ray, cleaning, whitening, regular cavities). Each case should be reviewed individually. Consider a virtual video consultation with your dentist, if available.

Stay at home

Don’t visit a dentist during this time if you are over the age of 60 or have a pre-existing medical condition (cardiac disease, asthma, diabetes, cancer, other). Stay at home and seek medical attention if you have symptoms like a fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

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Improve your oral hygiene habits

Every little thing you do matters. Practice good oral hygiene to keep yourself healthy.

Take care of your oral health properly: brush and floss your teeth twice a day to lower the chance of dental problems in the future.

Wash your hands often

Wash your hands with soap and water before and after brushing or flossing. Don’t touch your mouth, lips, teeth, gums, or tongue with dirty hands.

Replace your toothbrush

You should replace your toothbrush regulary every 3-4 months or when the bristles become worn.

Store toothbrush properly

Store toothbrushes in an upright position and allow them to air dry. Toothbrushes should be kept inches apart from each other.

Don’t share your toothbrush

Sharing a toothbrush could result in an exchange of bodily fluids and microorganisms. About 8,2 million people in the U.S. share their toothbrushes.

Don’t share your food

Don’t share food, drinks, eating utensils, drinking containers, dishes, glasses, cups, cutlery, straws, etc.

Don’t bite your nails

Biting nails is terrible for your teeth and overall health. It also spreads viruses and bacteria. About 99 million people in the U.S. bite nails.

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Sources and references:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html
https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/disinfection-methods/chemical.html#Hydrogen
https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2590088920300081#!
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.09.20033217v2
https://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(14)63689-8/abstract
https://www.ada.org/en/press-room/news-releases/2020-archives/march/ada-calls-upon-dentists-to-postpone-elective-procedures
https://dental.ohio.gov/News/ohio-state-dental-board-covid-19-advisory-2020-01-march-16-2020