As the COVID-19 pandemic subsides and mask requirements ease, it is essential to remember the effect that mask-wearing has had on our oral health. From dry mouth to increased bacteria growth, the prolonged use of masks has left people with various oral health issues. Hence, we felt it necessary to take a few minutes to discuss some valuable tips for improving your oral health post-pandemic.

EBONY chatted with Dr. Karen Fields-Lever of 28 to Brush Dental Studio to learn how we can better protect against oral issues while also maintaining a healthy daily routine.

"The pandemic has been a challenging time for many, and understandably, some people's oral health may have taken a backseat. However, it's vital to remember that taking care of your oral health is crucial for overall health and well-being," Dr. Fields-Lever says. "So, don't be discouraged if you've fallen out of your regular oral health routine. It's never too late to start again."

It All Starts With Daily Habits

Daily tasks such as brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash are essential for maintaining good oral hygiene. However, keeping your teeth and gums healthy goes a step further. Here's a quick overview of what you should be doing daily for a whole-mouth clean:

  • Brush your teeth for two minutes twice daily.
  • Use toothpaste that contains fluoride.
  • Floss at least once per day
  • Rinse your mouth with a mouthwash that contains up to 3 percent hydrogen peroxide.
  • Cleanse your mouth well after each meal.
  • Avoid drugs, tobacco, alcohol, and soft drinks.
  • Drink more water.
  • Minimize or eliminate sticky and hard foods from your diet.
  • Disinfect and change your toothbrush regularly.

Set Achievable Short-Term Objectives

Setting shorter-term goals can help you stay motivated and on track. For example, commit to brushing and flossing every day for a week or schedule a dental check-up in the next month. By consistently achieving these shorter-term goals, they will eventually become a habit.

Schedule Regular Dental Appointments

Regular dental check-ups are non-negotiable when it comes to maintaining good oral health. Dentists have the knowledge and tools to spot problems that may not be visible to the untrained eye, such as cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer.

"Professional dental cleanings are very beneficial, as they help break down the plaque buildup on your teeth that causes tooth decay and gum disease," she explains. "So, not only can your dental team help with deep cleaning your mouth, but they can also recommend personalized treatment plans that can improve your oral health. For example, if bacteria has already damaged your gums, gum disease treatments are effective for preventing it from spreading. And in the event the bacteria has caused damage to your teeth, restorations and fillings can be used to rebuild your smile."

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, improving your oral health is a crucial aspect of overall health and well-being that should not be overlooked. Though prolonged mask-wearing can adversely affect your hygiene efforts, setting achievable short-term goals and scheduling regular dental appointments can help improve and maintain good oral health.

"Following the tips above, to prioritize your oral health, will allow you to be on your way to maintaining a healthy and beautiful smile for a lifetime," says Dr. Fields-Lever.