I Can’t Go to a Dentist Right Now. What Should I Do To Keep My Mouth Healthy?
It is an unfortunate fact of life that sometimes we can’t do all the things we need to.
While the importance of regular dental visits cannot be stressed enough, there are times when – for whatever reason – a person simply cannot make it to a dentist.
The reasons for this are many and varied. Perhaps you are out of work and are just barely scraping by. Or maybe you have had a medical problem and cannot leave the house for an extended period of time. Maybe you are working overseas and have no access to dental care. Or maybe you find yourself in the middle of an international pandemic and the government has shut down all dental offices except for emergency treatment!
Whatever the reason, there are some things you can do to maintain good oral health and minimize the chances that you find yourself in need of emergency care.
Have An At-Home Hygiene Regimen
First of all, make sure you keep up a thorough home hygiene regimen.
This will include, at a minimum, regular brushing, and flossing – at least 2-3 times a day. A good mechanical toothbrush, such as Sonicare or Oral B, is highly recommended over a manual toothbrush. The use of a waterpick in addition to brushing and flossing is also a great idea.
We also recommend using a good antibacterial mouthwash at least daily. This will help to maintain a healthy oral environment.
Avoid Eating Sugar
Secondly, it will be important to avoid frequent consumption of sugars during the time when you are not able to make regular dental visits.
It is very easy and natural when we find ourselves in unusual circumstances to take comfort in food – particularly foods that are high in fats and sugars. They taste good and make us feel like we are in control of at least something.
Unfortunately, they can also lead to cavities and gum disease. They also make small cavities grow at alarming rates!
The most dangerous is frequent sipping of sugary drinks or snacking on sugary treats throughout the day. These practices keep a fresh supply of sugar flowing to the bacteria in your mouth that cause cavities and gum disease and allows those bacteria to cause damage at an increased rate. Now, if you want to have a can of soda with a meal or an occasional dessert after dinner, we won’t say you shouldn’t or can’t. As long as you are practicing a good home regimen as discussed above, an occasional treat is perfectly fine. It is the frequent intake of sugar that is the problem. Plus it’s just not healthy for the rest of your body either!
Visit A Dentist Before You’re Over Due
If you know that in the near future you will not be able to make it to the dentist regularly, then coming in beforehand for a comprehensive exam is critical. This will allow us to identify any problems that have a high likelihood of developing and take care of them before you become unavailable. This will help to minimize the chances of having a problem when you can’t come in.
Back when I served in the Army we had to evaluate every soldier before they deployed to make sure they weren’t going to develop dental problems while in the field. You can imagine how a dental emergency in a war zone could be a serious problem. The same is true whenever you find yourself unable to access regular dental care. Obviously, situations, where you may not be able to receive dental care, may develop without any warning. This is another reason why it is important to keep regular appointments when you can.
Likewise, sometimes dental emergencies develop with little or no warning. In such situations, you may find yourself in trouble. In some cases, medication (such as pain relievers or antibiotics) may help to keep the situation manageable until care can be sought. In other cases, extraordinary measures may need to be taken to get you to where you can have the problem taken care of. This could be expensive and pose other risks to your health Obviously this is something you want to avoid.
So again – keep regular dental appointments when you can and seek to minimize risks when you can’t.
Here at Mountain Springs Advanced Dental in Colorado Springs, CO, our goal is to achieve and maintain good oral health for all of our patients. Even when our office is closed (due to vacation, pandemic-related government-mandated shutdown, or any other reason) we are always prepared to get you the emergency services you require.
We are committed to never leaving our patients without access to care. You, our patient, are always our #1 priority.
Stay healthy and safe and we look forward to seeing you as soon as we can!