News & blogs Blogs and vlogs COVID-19: our guide to looking after yourselves and others through better oral hygiene 23 March 2020 Given the current situation that many of us across the world find ourselves in, keeping great personal hygiene has arguably never been more important. Advice around how to do this is something that we all should take note of. Especially regular handwashing with soap for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitiser gel when this is not possible. One of the most important things to remember is that doing these things and being as hygienic as possible doesn’t just help protect you, but it also protects those around you. To help you achieve this, the Oral Health Foundation has provided the following advice to help you avoid catching or spreading the coronavirus (COVID-19). Never share a toothbrush No matter whether you are related or how close you are to the people you live with, you should never share your toothbrush with anybody else. This is one way that viruses and blood-borne diseases can be caught from other people. For the same reason, you should make sure that toothbrush heads are also kept apart from each other wherever you and the rest of your household store your toothbrushes. Close the toilet lid before you flush Where you keep your toothbrush is very important. If you store your brush anywhere near your toilet, every time someone flushes, some of the spray will fly out of the toilet and land on your toothbrush. There has already been research conducted that suggests that the virus can be spread via faecal matter (poo). So, make sure your brush is a safe distance away from your toilet, or better yet, make sure you close the lid before you flush. Change your toothbrush regularly It’s important to change your toothbrush, or brush head, at least every three months. Perhaps even earlier if the bristles become frayed. This helps to ensure you are brushing your teeth effectively. A worn brush can’t do the job it needs to. Changing your brush regularly also helps prevent the spread of bacteria. If you have had the coronavirus (or suspect that you may have), get a new toothbrush or brush head. Visiting the dentist Maintaining regular visits to your dental team will always be important. During this period of uncertainty, it’s best to always check before any appointments that you have by phoning ahead. Be prepared for your appointment to either be delayed or cancelled. This is for the safety of both staff and patients. Emergency treatment may still be available but other, more routine procedures, may be postponed for the foreseeable future. Clean your bathroom regularly Our bathrooms are the place where many of us store our toothbrushes, towels, flannels and other intimate items. It’s also the place we go in order to get clean. So, for obvious reasons, it’s important that the surfaces in your bathroom generally are cleaned regularly using a bleach-based cleaning product. Don’t forget to do the basics Our oral health should always be a priority. In addition to visiting your local dental team when possible, don’t forget the simple day-to-day habits that will help you keep a healthy mouth. Brush daily with a fluoride toothpaste last thing at night and at least one other time during the day. Drink plenty of water and cut down on how much and how often you have sugary foods and drinks. Clean between your teeth every day with interdental brushes or floss and consider using mouthwash. For better oral health, hygiene and well-being it’s important we all take these measures to protect ourselves and each other. For more advice on the coronavirus, please head to the official NHS website at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.