Covid-19 and Easter 2020

At times of stress our immune system seems to drop its defences. Right now many people are feeling that stress both from the daily news on the COVID-19 pandemic figures and worrying about the effect it is having on their financial well-being. Both these topics are causing us all varying degrees of anxiety and so it is not surprising to find that our immune defences might not be as good as they usually are.

As a dentist I see this now with the increase in the number of patients contacting us with infections, swelling and pain. One common problem is infection around wisdom teeth and another common complaint is gum infections that up to now have only caused some mild bleeding from gums but are now causing infection, pain and swelling.

Under the current COVID-19 level 3 restrictions placed on dentistry by the Australian Government Department of Health, we can only treat patients for the relief of pain or infection. All routine dental treatment must be deferred until the pandemic risk of transmission is reduced and the Government relax the restrictions.

Any patients who suffer pain or swelling should contact their healthcare professional to arrange appropriate treatment. That treatment may involve taking medications including antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs or pain control medications but it is important to seek early assessment and treatment to prevent the condition becoming more severe.

Risk factors for infection include prior existing medical conditions that reduce the effectiveness of your immune system and this may include diabetes. Other factors include smoking and in the case of dental and oral infection smoking and poor tooth cleaning are the most important factors that may predispose to infection.

Over Easter, try and limit the ingestion of sweets even if the Easter Bunny leaves them and try to clean the teeth even better than normal using careful and thorough tooth brushing using a fluoride-containing toothpaste every morning and evening. Remove plaque and food debris from between teeth using either floss or Pikster brushes available from the chemist.

Prevention is always far better than cure so good oral care by you is your best defence against dental infection and decay. Staying at home and maintaining social distancing is your best defence against COVID-19 so listen to the advice and please stay home, prevent unnecessary virus transmission and by doing that you are saving lives of older people, young people, sick people and possibly yourself by avoiding picking up the virus.

Stay safe everyone, brush and floss well, Happy Easter & see you on the other side!

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