With social distancing guidelines still in place for the foreseeable future, you likely will not be able to get to the dentist for your regular check-up for a while. Since it is not possible to see your dentist right now, it is extra important for you to take great care of your teeth at home! You can follow the tips below to help reduce your risk of developing cavities and other issues if you have to go longer between cleanings than you normally would.

Implement a strong oral hygiene routine.

During times when you may not be able to get in for your regular cleaning on time, it is more important than ever that you maintain a good oral hygiene routine in order to avoid developing cavities. Stick to all the things you usually do to take care of your teeth, and also consider adding some extra steps, like mouthwash, to take extra good care of your mouth between dental check-ups.

Make sure you are brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day, every single day. While brushing your teeth, hold your toothbrush at a slight angle so that you also get the bacteria that builds up along your gum line, and make sure you are brushing both the front and back of your teeth.

Also be sure to floss every day, as this is the best way to get food and bacteria out from between your teeth, in the small spaces that your toothbrush can’t reach. Just like with brushing, it is important that you don’t rush your flossing, as you could damage your gums. When flossing, as you reach your gum line, curve the floss around your tooth in a “C” shape, as this will help you get the harder to reach spots.

Toothbrush hygiene.

We are all focusing on keeping our homes and hands as clean and hygienic as possible during self-isolation, but we need to include our toothbrushes in this routine as well. As toothbrushes go in your mouth regularly, this is a natural place for germs to build up and spread, so practice good toothbrush hygiene during this time as well.

Each time you use your toothbrush, make sure you rinse it thoroughly to remove any residue and shake it to remove any excess water. After rinsing your toothbrush, store it upright in a holder so it can dry out quickly and properly. If there are multiple toothbrushes in the holder, make sure they do not touch to avoid spreading any germs from one person to another.

If you do become sick, change to a new toothbrush once you have recovered, as there is a chance the virus or other germs could still be in your toothbrush.

Drink lots of water.

Drinking water after eating helps to neutralize the acid in your mouth by rinsing out your mouth. Remaining properly hydrated ensures you are producing enough saliva, which contains enzymes that aid in the re-hardening of tooth surfaces that may have been softened by the foods or drinks you are consuming. If you are dehydrated and your mouth becomes dry, this leaves room for the acids on your teeth to continue to attack your tooth surfaces and enamel and put you at higher risk for developing cavities. If you are sick, it is even more important for you to stay hydrated as your body requires extra fluids when fighting of

Avoid consuming a lot of sugary or acidic foods and drinks.

As the food we eat is the biggest contributor to the formation of cavities, changing up the things you eat can also be a key part of preventing them. Frequently snacking on sugary or starchy food leaves cavity-causing acids on your teeth. Try to reduce the amount of sugary snacks you have, and replace them with fruits and veggies. This is not only a great thing to do for your dental health, but for your overall health!

During this time, you may also be taking Vitamin C in order to boost your immune system. Keep in mind that Vitamin C can be damaging to your tooth enamel when it is chewed or dissolved to make a fizzy drink. Either try to limit your intake, or take Vitamin C in a capsule or tablet form to bypass your teeth.

If you put these tips into practice, you can be sure that you are doing your best to keep your teeth as healthy as possible until your next dental check-up!