Safe dental practices are critical to protecting you and your family from the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Mouth and nose areas are primary entry points for Coronavirus and other infections. Thus you must be careful to avoid infection as you care for your teeth and mouth.
Advice from Your Dentist: Home Care Infection Prevention
Dentists are experts on infection control. They follow strict guidelines to keep dental patients safe in their office.
Obviously, they want patients to avoid illness from infections while brushing and flossing teeth when they are away from the dental office.
The Coronavirus scare has made patients more aware of the importance of good infection control.
Here are suggestions from your dentist for safe dental care at home:
Wash Hands Before Brushing Teeth
We know that the virus is transmitted by the hands touching the face or mouth. But we often forget that when tending to our oral health.
Therefore develop a routine to wash hands—and then brush, floss, and wash face and hands.
Disinfect Toothbrush Weekly
Here are ways to keep your toothbrush germ free:
- Soak handle and brush in a mix of one part household bleach to nine parts water or in a 70% alcohol solution.
- Boil toothbrush for 5 minutes.
- Run toothbrush through full dishwasher cycle.
Rinse Toothbrush in Hot Water after each use
Hot water rinses away paste that may hold germs after brushing. It also rinses away some germs and bacteria that brushing removed from your mouth.
Place toothbrushes in an open container after brushing
- Do not place brush in drawer or cabinet. Dark and damp places are a bacteria’s playground.
- Avoid use of travel containers or other small holders which close. It is very hard to keep these sterile.
- Do not let toothbrush heads touch if sharing a holder; better yet, store brushes alone in individual holders.
Disinfect containers that hold brushes
Run cups and trays that hold toothbrushes through complete dishwasher cycle. And make sure to place brush in holder rather than on counter top.
Put brushes in holders in a safe place
Store toothbrush away from toilet. Flushing the toilet produces aerosols that can land on your toothbrush.
Do not put brush down on counter or other surface that is hard to wash well. Obviously, this is very important when traveling.
Do not Share Toothpaste or Floss
We know that we can carry the virus five days before showing symptoms. Thus sharing paste or handling the same floss could transmit the disease even when other party is not sick.
Be Careful Sharing Electric Toothbrush or WaterPik
Sanitize the handle by wiping with disinfectant like Lysol or a similar product.
Or you could cover handles before using. At our office we find that clear plastic silverware bags are the right size to cover toothbrush handles.
Replace Toothbrush if you get Sick
Make a new start when you recover from a viral or bacterial infection.
Throw out your toothbrush and start over. Of course, use safe practices with your new brush.
Practice Social Distancing Brushing your Teeth
Bacteria from your mouth enter the air as you brush your teeth. Stand six feet from others as you brush.
Protect your Children from Infection
Use good disinfection procedures as you help your child brush her teeth.
Most important: Wash your hands and your child’s hands before brushing. Also, keep his toothbrush clean.
Use Denture Infection Control Practices
- Wash hands with soap and water when placing or removing denture.
- To sterilize, place denture in 8 ounces water mixed with 1 teaspoon bleach.
- Rinse with hot running water after removing from bleach solution.
- Do not soak dentures for longer than a minute. This could turn gum part of denture white.
Contact your Dentist with Questions or Concerns
Do not let small dental problems become major issues.
Your dentist will talk to you about infection control in her office. Obviously, you should feel safe visiting the dentist.
In addition, your dentist or hygienist will answer questions and guide you towards safe home care.
Many people do not understand the importance of keeping toothbrushes clean and how this can impact their health. The Coronavirus scare has made us address dental care safety habits.Betsy Oliver, Registered Dental Hygienist
Infection Control at Dental Visits
Visit a dental office that makes you confident that the office is safe and sterile. Obviously, a dentist who focuses on training and quality care will likely also be concerned about using best sterilization practices.
Call the dental office and reschedule if you have been sick, cared for someone who is sick, or traveled outside the country recently. You want to partner with your dentist in keeping others safe.
Wash your hands before leaving your home and before and after your dental visit. Take reading materials and do not share them with others in the office.
Establish a long term relationship with a dentist you trust. You will feel safe as you visit her office on a regular basis.
At your first visit, ask to see the office’s sterilization area. You will be amazed at the many steps staff members take to assure instruments are sterile.
Also note that the dentist and staff wash hands in the operatory while you are in the chair. And watch as they change out gloves and protective gear.
In addition, ask assistants and hygienists to explain the procedures they follow in wiping down all surfaces between patients.
A modern dental office with highly trained and ethical dentists will help assure that safety standards are closely followed. Read our post to help you find a dentist you can trust to keep you safe.
Dental Office Safety at Cranford Dental in Rock Hill, SC
Our dental practice in Rock Hill has made infection control a priority for the last 35 years. Our goal: to keep our visitors and employees safe.
We closely follow infection control standards of the Center of Disease Control and the South Carolina Department of Health. This includes training our staff to implement safety standards before and after they seat patients for treatment.
As the senior hygienist at Cranford Dental, I feel very safe working in this office. I know that we closely follow guidelines that keep us and our patients safe.Judy Murray, Registered Dental Hygienist
Our staff members work closely with the dentists to assure that everyone in the office complies with safety standards. They routinely review new safety guidelines to make sure that our office stays up to date.
Our staff values safe home dental care for patients and will review infection control measures with you. Also, they will help assure you that you are safe from Coronavirus and other infections when you visit our dental office.
Contact our office if you have questions about sterilization measures in the dental office. We would be happy to tour through our office and point out safety measures at Cranford Dental.