We still want to have healthy teeth even if they're hidden behind a mask
Oct. 22, 2020
By Matt Cimino
Our mouths are perhaps one of the areas we consider least when we think about good physical health.
In reality, proper dental hygiene is a combination of strong teeth, healthy gums and fresh breath that, when ignored, can lead to a variety of issues. It is important to take time and think about if your teeth are getting the treatment they need.
National Dental Hygiene Month is celebrated every October, with the goal of highlighting just that. When you visit the dentist for a typical appointment, a dental hygienist will give your teeth a thorough cleaning. You know that “dentist visit” clean feeling.
There’s much to celebrate about the hard work dental hygienists do across the nation. When you are not getting that deep clean from a hygienist, here are some simple steps that will both improve your oral health and show your observance of National Dental Hygiene Month:
- Floss every day – Flossing is an essential practice that gets in those hard to reach places that a brush cannot. Be sure to get in between each tooth and carefully clean each.
- Brush twice a day for two minutes – Consistent brushing prevents bad breath and gum disease. Be sure to brush back and forth and side to side for two minutes each time.
- Rinse with mouthwash – People may often think mouthwash is not necessary, but dental hygienists disagree. Using an antimicrobial rinse after you brush eliminates bad breath, and can take care of any bacterial remnants in your mouth.
This has proven to be quite a different year for dental care facilities. MCHD Dentistry closed its doors in mid-March for two months because of COVID-19. Now that the dental office has reopened, there are guidelines in place to keep both employees and patients safe.
Whitney Holmes, a registered dental hygienist and MCHD Dentistry’s Infection Control Coordinator (ICC), breaks down what to expect during a visit to our facility:
“MCHD Dentistry has made changes to accommodate the recommendations and guidelines from the American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For instance, you can expect a friendly phone call one day prior to your appointment to confirm your visit and ask a few COVID related screening questions.”
“Also, when you arrive for an appointment, we will ask that you remain in your vehicle and call our office to let us know you are here, your provider will call you back once he/she is ready for your appointment.”
“We will let you into the office via the side door, where your provider will meet you to have you sanitize your hands, take your temperature and have you sign a consent verifying you do not have any COVID symptoms, permitting us to treat you during this time.”
Hygienists and dentists will be wearing more personal protective equipment (PPE), and you will be asked to use a mouth rinse consisting of water and hydrogen peroxide before treatments begin.Above, MCHD Dentistry's registered dental hygienists Roger Reed, Brittany Pycraft and Tiffany Summerlin, as well as Whitney Holmes (above), are now accustomed to working with more personal protective equipment (PPE) because of the COVID-19 pandemic.In fact, before MCHD Dentistry reopened, registered dental hygienist Tiffany Summerlin created a video outlining the changes that clients could expect that protect both them and the staff.
MCHD Dentistry has made dental care safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you do not plan on seeing a dentist during this time period, the best things you can do to care for your teeth are to brush and floss every day. However, if you have an issue, such as a toothe ache or other dental problem, consider making an appointment.
Holmes always recommends brushing both morning and night with a fluoridated toothpaste and flossing at least once a day. Remember, your oral health is just as important as any other aspect of health. Recognize the hard work dental hygienists are doing, especially during these times.
“Our team has been 100% behind the protocols set in place since we opened back up in May. Our providers do everything they can to make sure our patients feel safe when visiting MCHD Dentistry,” she added. “We want you and your family to feel safe coming in to get your teeth cleaned and examined, as we know that a person’s oral health is connected to overall health.”
Call MCHD Dentistry at 304-598-5108 to schedule an appointment.
Matt Cimino is an intern in the public information office at Monongalia County Health Department.