COVID-19 and Your Teeth

When I first discussed doing a blog post with my advertising guy during the COVID-19 crisis, I pretty much shut down.  Aside from feeling extremely overwhelmed with having to close my business, figure out what governmental loans to apply for and at what specific time to apply for them, I was navigating being a stay at home mom for the first time since my oldest child was five months old.  I was thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding me.  Social media is not a priority that is even close to being on my radar right now.”  Thankfully, my advertising guy is my husband’s best friend, and allows me space when I need it but gives me honest feedback.  He encouraged me to continue with my social media and blogging.  Insert eye roll here.

He was right.  As I have accepted this situation I find myself in, I have been able to see how drastically our day-to-day lives have changed.  When yesterday, I was getting up, exercising, eating breakfast, out the door, dropping the kids off to school, arriving at work, answering emails, etc, and today, I am getting up and trying to imagine how this pandemic will unfold, filling my days with anxiety-laden thoughts.  Heaven forbid I watch the news!

I have never been in a situation where I could not leave my house and have no interaction with people besides my immediate family.  When the mandate was placed that I was not able to work anymore aside from urgent dental needs, I decided to go home, take my kids out of daycare to save money, and make the best of my new situation.  It was up to me to create a new routine, and I have learned that a loose schedule is key. 

So, how does COVID-19 affect your teeth?  To my knowledge, COVID-19 has no effect whatsoever on your teeth.  But wait for it!  During this quarantine, I have found that in my own house, when we are off our routine, self-care is often the first thing to go.  The nighttime brushing typically gets completed, but in the morning it’s off to the races.  I get up early and get my husband off to work.  Then my kids are up begging for their breakfast, and soon it’s nap time and I realize I never brushed my teeth let alone my children’s teeth.  Making a conscious effort to remember to take care of ourselves during this time is important. 

One of the other things I have realized that can increase the risk of getting cavities is, I snack more when I am at home than when I am on the go.  The more frequently snacking occurs, the more often the mouth is under acidic attack and has less time to recover.  It is not always the food that is the problem, but how often snacking occurs.  A big problem that can lead to cavities is sipping on beverages that are not water throughout the day.  Oh, it’s no big deal.  It’s a diet coke.  Yes, there is less sugar in diet coke than regular coke.  Both are acidic and can cause your enamel to decay.  The person who drinks a cup of coffee with breakfast is a lot less likely to get a cavity than the person who sips on coffee throughout the day.

The last thought I will leave you with is this: kids are vaping.  Kids can sense the tension that is going on in this world and are more likely to be vaping on a regular basis because they are bored, have more time on their hands, miss their friends, and are anxious.  I have not found many studies on what vaping does to oral tissues.  It is still too early to say anything definitively, but from my own personal practice, I see more issues with dry mouth in kids that vape.  Saliva is important in maintaining a healthy oral flora and counteracting an acidic environment to prevent cavities.

I hope you find this information helpful and informative.  Please stay safe and stay home to prevent further spread of this disease!

P.S.  Are your kids as uncooperative with taking pictures as mine?  Oh well, this is the best I got!  Happy Quarantining!