At the moment in the UK, dental clinics are no longer providing routine appointments (check-ups and cleans) due to the Corona Virus outbreak, and with certain clinics only offering emergency treatment, we didn’t want to leave you in the unknown. DIY floss for SOS situations, teeth-friendly snacks and how to know if you are eligible for emergency treatment- we’ve addressed it all below.
- When should I get an emergency appointment? If you have a persisting toothache (especially if it keeps you awake at night), a bad taste in your mouth that associated with any sore areas of your mouth and any swellings associated with teeth or gums, you should call your dental clinic or 111 to arrange an emergency appointment. Also, bare in mind that it will get trickier to book an emergency appointment as this pandemic progresses, so be mindful about doing what you can to look after your teeth!
- I’ve run out of toothpaste! — Brush your teeth without toothpaste. Your bristles will still do their job and remove any areas of plaque. And, if you have alcohol-free mouthwash, you can give your mouth good swill after brushing with water. If you’re also up for it and have some coconut oil sitting about at home, you can practise oil pulling, to reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth.
- My teeth are super sensitive! — If you don’t have a sensitive toothpaste at hand, then what you can do is, get your normal toothpaste (as long as it has fluoride) and coat your teeth in it before bed. It will feel weird but in the morning, you should find that the sensitivity has improved.
- My tooth is hurting! — Clove oil (also known as Eugenol) is great for soothing a sore tooth in combination with some paracetamol. If the pain continues, ring up your dental clinic or call 111 to book an emergency appointment.
- My gums hurt! — If you have any floss or interdental brushes at hand, use this flossing technique or this interdental brushing technique to give your gums a clean at least once a day. If you have a chlorhexidine mouthwash (Corsodyl) mouthwash on hand, use this for 1 week only. If you don’t have Corsodyl, you can make your own mouthwash using essential oils (which have also been proven to help your gums). If you’ve cleaned your gums and you still have pain, ring up your dental clinic or call 111 to book an emergency appointment.
- My filling has fallen out! — Keep the area clean, make sure no food is stuck in the cavity and try to avoid chewing on that side. There are temporary filling materials you can buy if you have access to your local drugstore/pharmacy but if there is any pain, ring up your dental clinic or call 111 to book an emergency appointment. (Note: There is still a risk that you can have tooth decay, even if you aren’t experiencing pain, so call your nearest dental clinic to get advice based on your specific case).
How to keep teeth in the best condition when away from the dentist:
- Good old toothbrushing
This is THE most important thing you can do to keep your teeth in top condition. Also, make sure you avoid eating or drinking (unless its water) for at least 30 mins before or after toothbrushing to protect your teeth and to let your toothpaste work its magic.
2. Interdental Cleaning
Brushing is an effective cleaning method; but here’s the snag… even if you’re brushing religiously, you’re only ever cleaning 65% of your teeth surfaces. In other words, you’ll still get plaque build-up in-between your teeth and under your gums, areas where it’s difficult for your toothbrush to reach.
Interdental cleaning aids such as flossing and interdental brushing are necessary to remove food and plaque that builds up in those difficult to reach areas where our teeth meet, is essential if we want to have fresh breath and avoid serious dental health issues. This is especially crucial during this time where dental services are becoming more and more limited.
If you have run out of floss or interdental brushes and you’re in a pinch during this time, some clean cotton or silk thread can work as a short term solution. It’s even better if you can soak the thread in some peppermint essential oil too. Another alternative is to order a water flosser, as these just require water and won’t run out!
3. Teeth-Friendly Snacking
Remote working and social distancing have become our new norm which means that we are spending the majority of our times at home. Whilst being at home in our pyjamas and avoiding the commute to work is fantastic, being at home can result in us snacking more frequently.
To be kind to our teeth during this time and to prevent any problems from developing, it all comes down to having teeth-friendly snacks and managing how often we are indulging.
Teeth-friendly snack ideas:
- Slice up peppers, carrots and/or celery and dip them into hummus.
- Slice up an apple and eat it with some nut butter.
- A handful of nuts.
- A cube or a few cubes of cheese (for vegans, be wary of non-dairy alternatives as this, unfortunately, aren't so great for your teeth since your mouth bacteria prefer plant-milk to cows-milk!)
- Boil some corn-on the cob and enjoy it with a sprinkle of salt.
- A handful of berries with some greek yoghurt or on top of a salad.
- Dark chocolate (2 squares of 85% Lindt with a cup of herbal tea is a great and yummy treat).
Who are we?
We’re Hawaa and Gina, nice to meet you! We’re the founders of uunn, the digital plaque tracker for your teeth.
uunn works with your smartphone to detect, visualise and quantify any areas of plaque on your teeth. We’re planning to release uunn later this year but in the meantime, we will be doing what we can to help your at-home teeth care.
We hope you found this information useful. If you have any questions or any further topics you’d like us to write about, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please take care of yourself and others during this time and stay connected with us by following us on Instagram!
All the best,
Gina and Hawaa.
This article was created with the help of one of uunn’s dental experts, Reem Al-Refaie, to ensure all information is evidence-based.