Stay at Home Teeth Survival Guide, Part I

Now, more than ever, it is important to be as safe as possible to avoid any unnecessary trips to the dental office or the emergency room, as we want to limit our exposure to COVID19. Many of us have been thrown off of our usual routine; perhaps some of us are home-schooling our kids (best wishes to those of you who are!) We are probably all clenching our teeth more than we normally do. We are idle and maybe eating more than we normally do and, therefore, more prone to cavities!

I’ve been hearing from a lot of people who are worried about getting cavities now that they are stuck at home with food or they are on the go, drinking energy drinks to help stay awake during a long ED shift, for example.

The bacteria that create decay in our mouths love sugar and acid. Therefore, anything we can do to limit sugar and acid in our mouth is a good thing. Here are the top 3 things you can do to avoid cavities:

  1. Swish with or drink water after eating or drinking anything acidic. This includes energy drinks, soda, sweet tea, sports drinks, juice and wine. This includes sugar free (diet) versions of your sodas and energy drinks. If you are curious about the acid level of your drink, check the back and see if citric acid or phosphorus acid is toward the top of the list.
  2. Brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste after each meal (or alternatively you can chew a piece of sugar free gum). Brushing your teeth, does 2 things, it mechanically removes food debris, which deprives the bacteria of a food source, and it spreads fluoride on your teeth, which kills bacteria and helps to re-mineralize damaged enamel.
  3. Make sure you are flossing before going to sleep. Mechanically removing any food caught between your teeth before you go to sleep ensures the bacteria aren’t feasting on that left over food and multiplying while you sleep!

Please let me know if you have any questions, until next time, stay safe and stay sane!

Michael King, DMD