Wellness Wednesday: taking care of your smile during COVID-19

Posted at 8:07 AM, Oct 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-28 10:07:41-04

IDAHO — Halloween is just around the corner, and after you enjoy all that candy, you'll likely want to get back on track with your dental appointments.

Dr. Whitney Bator from Tree City Family Dental says even though Halloween celebrations look different during the time of COVID, there's no reason not to enjoy your favorite sweets. Still, there are things to keep in mind to make sure you avoid cavities.

"The first, of course, is drink lots of water and enjoy your candy with meals. Both of these things are going to increase saliva production which rinses away sugar residue and keeps your teeth healthy," Dr. Bator explains. "The second is instead of snacking on candy throughout the day, enjoy a few pieces in one sitting, then rinse your mouth with water afterward, and brush shortly after that. It's all about the frequency of sugar consumption, not necessarily the amount at one time that causes cavities."

Dr. Bator also says anyone with orthodontics or appliances, like braces or retainers, should stay away from sticky or hard candies that could get stuck in the brackets and wires.

Dr. Bator suggests making a dental appointment after Halloween and before the holiday season. During the pandemic, many people have not kept up with preventative care like regular teeth cleanings, but Dr. Bator says they're taking every precaution to make it safe for patients and providers. Some of those changes include taking staff and patient temperatures upon arrival, social distancing in waiting rooms, extra personal protective equipment for dentists, hygienists, assistants, and front office staff, and adding air filtration systems.

Getting back into the routine of preventative care, including your dental care, will help your overall health, and as Dr. Bator says, those visits can lead to finding problems early, contribute to less pain, less treatment, and ultimately less expensive care.

"With the pandemic, so many people have had a disruption to their daily routines and so I think it's important to reestablish these routines. That looks like twice-daily brushing, flossing, exercising, and eating well. A healthy diet and a healthy mouth are really going to increase and boost our immune systems. It's not only going to help us fight off chronic infections like heart disease and diabetes, but it's also going to help us fight off new infections and things like COVID."

Dr. Bator says many health insurance plans are loosening restrictions because of COVID, but it's a good idea to stick to your normal appointment schedule.

For more on dental visits during the pandemic, click here or call your provider.