While many people are spending more days at home, it’s likely their usual routines will have been replaced with a new normal for the time being.

From sleeping in on a morning to snacking on treats more often, we are all doing things we wouldn’t normally. Although these may seem like small changes they can have a big impact on our oral health, as good oral hygiene can be forgotten about and more sugar consumed. This could mean a trip to the dentist is needed, but dentists are also in lockdown, for all but the most critical of emergency appointments, at the moment to help slow the Coronavirus outbreak. To avoid any unnecessary trips out, here is our advice to help people stay on top of their oral health at home.

Brush at least twice a day This can seem obvious but a change in routine can impact on small daily tasks like tooth brushing. This is something you should remain strict with and do at least twice a day for two minutes each time. For effective brushing with a manual toothbrush, we recommend you use a medium bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums, and scrub back and forth using short, gentle strokes to reach every surface of your teeth. Tilt the brush to reach your back teeth, and don’t forget to brush your gums and tongue. 

Watch Queensway’s guide to toothbrushing.

Floss once a day This helps to remove plaque and excess food particles that your toothbrush hasn’t picked up, which is essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. To make sure you are flossing correctly and reaching all sides of your teeth, grab a long piece of dental floss (around 18 inches) and wind most of it around your middle fingers, then thread it between all of your teeth gently rubbing as you go. At the gum line, curve it against the side of the tooth and rub up and down.

Watch Queensway’s guide to flossing.

Use interdental brushes An excellent alternative to flossing is the use of interdental brushes. These small brushes are designed to clean in between your teeth where a regular toothbrush cannot reach. Daily use is an easy and efficiently way of keeping the teeth and gums healthy.

Limit sugar intake While it’s tempting and easy when we’re at home to reach for the biscuit jar or grab a fizzy drink from the fridge, sugar has a direct connection to tooth decay, by attacking the tooth enamel that protects your teeth. When food shopping check the labels on products and don’t overbuy things with high sugar content – out of sight out of mind! Snack on healthier options and get your sugar fix from fresh fruits. Frequency of sugar intake is the biggest threat to teeth so try to ensure you stick to three meals and only drink water in between meals.

Don’t forget about children’s teeth It’s just as important for children to be keeping on top of their oral health, especially as they’ll be eating more treats than usual after the Easter weekend like chocolate eggs. For a healthy mouth, children should also be brushing twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride-containing toothpaste. For children over the age of 6 years use a toothpaste with at least 1400ppm fluoride, as for adults. Avoid fizzy drinks and sugary foods and instead encourage children to snack on raw vegetables and fruit if necessary. Children should definitely avoid food and drink, apart from plain water, within 1 hour of bedtime as reduced saliva flow during the night makes teeth more vulnerable to acid damage.

Brace-wearer? Here’s what you should be abiding to, to keep a healthy smile Make sure you use your normal tooth brush at least twice a day, tooth brushing for around 2 minutes each time, brushing your top and bottom teeth separately and cleaning your gums. Your blue interdental brush should be used next to clean each bracket glued to your teeth – try not to miss any. Finally, take your smaller interdental brush and clean any spaces you may have in between your teeth. Don’t forget if you use mouth wash use it at a separate time to brushing your teeth.

Watch Queensway’s guide for brace-wearers.

Lost or broken your retainer whilst at home? During isolation you might lose or break your retainer, to help stop your teeth from moving Queensway suggests ordering a customisable mouth guard until their doors reopen.

Watch Dr Guy Deeming’s simple step by step video to making a retainer from home.