After more than six months of Melbourne’s coronavirus lockdown, people are understandably itching to get back out into the world. Of course, fun activities like seeing friends and family and getting back to your favourite restaurant or cafe may be at the top of a lot of people’s post-lockdown lists. However, it’s important to remember the various essential self-care tasks (beyond rushing out for a haircut) that may have fallen by the wayside during the lockdown. As the restrictions ease, you should also consider booking in a dental checkup.
While dentists, as healthcare providers, have been open during the pandemic lockdown, some have been only providing limited services like urgent dental care. That means that many people have missed or postponed their general checkups and cleanings over the period. If you’re one of those people, we have four reasons you should book in a post-lockdown dental checkup.
- Your should get a checkup every six-12 months
In general, dentists recommend that you get a regular checkup and clean every six to 12 months. Of course, that recommendation will vary depending on your oral health and any existing dental issues.
Unfortunately, most Melburnians have been stuck inside for the better part of the past six months and haven’t been able to get out to see the dentist. Regardless of the state of your oral health, it’s probably worth contacting your dentist and booking a checkup and clean as soon as the lockdown has lifted.
- Ongoing dental issues may be been ignored
Regular dental checkups are even more important for people with existing oral health issues. People with dental treatments like braces or issues like emerging wisdom teeth may need to see the dentist more regularly to monitor changes and provide additional treatments as necessary.
Having put off dental checkups during the pandemic lockdown period may mean that your dental treatments, like braces or dentures, are in serious need of adjustment. Additionally, if your dentist hasn’t been monitoring your dental health, new issues may have developed that require attention. Remember, when it comes to oral health, the longer you leave the problem, the more difficult, costly and painful it can become to fix.
- Your lockdown lifestyle may have affected your dental health
With work from home and the absence of face-to-face socialising, the extended COVID lockdown has brought about some serious lifestyle changes for many people. Not having to go into work or directly interact with people quickly led to a decline in personal grooming standards. For a lot of people, that may have meant becoming a bit more lax with dental hygiene. You may have found yourself brushing and flossing less regularly or less thoroughly, and this may have increased your susceptibility to decay, plaque build-up and gum problems.
Lockdown has also affected how and when people are eating. Changes to your diet or your regular eating times may have also impacted your dental health. If you have found yourself eating more sugary foods than usual or snacking more regularly, then you may have been doing damage to your teeth.
How frequently we eat affects the acidity levels in our mouths. Saliva works to naturally restore the pH level after eating, but it takes some time. So, eating more frequently during the day exposes our teeth to extended periods of acidity. Acid can eat away at tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay, cavities and dental erosion.
If the lockdown has affected your dental hygiene or changed up your diet or eating patterns, you may be in urgent need of a checkup.
- It’s completely safe to visit the dentist
As a healthcare provider, dentists were maintaining the strictest levels of cleanliness and hygiene even before the coronavirus pandemic started. According to the Australian Dental Association, Australian dental practitioners have the highest infection control standards in the world. However, with the onset of COVID, dentists have tightened their health and hygiene standards even further.
While specific sanitising procedures will change from dentist to dentist, most practices are enforcing mask wearing and social distancing in waiting areas, carrying out regular hospital-grade sanitising and disinfecting of shared waiting areas. Practices will also generally ask if you’ve experienced any flu-like symptoms prior to your appointment and check your temperature prior to admittance.
If you’ve let your oral health standards slide during the coronavirus lockdown, then now’s the time to check in with your dentist and get your teeth back on track.