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COVID-19: Looking After Yourself Through Better Oral Hygiene

We are all familiar that personal hygiene can help to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the epidemic curve. Keeping good personal hygiene has never been more important given the current situation we are all in.

During a panel discussion on March 23 hosted by the Straits Times on the importance of personal hygiene in the Coronavirus outbreak, Water Resources Minister Masagos Zufikli, who is the head of the new SG Clean task force, said that our first defense is personal hygiene, not just against the Corona Virus, but against other breakouts that we cannot predict yet.

There are a lot of things we don’t know about the Coronavirus, but what we do know is that it spreads through droplets produced by an infected person that sneezes or coughs. Other individuals can get contaminated when they touch a surface with virus particles on it and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth. The way the virus is transmitted is the reason why you need to pay attention to personal hygiene.

Wash Your Hands

Although you have surely heard this a million times already, the best weapon in the fight between the virus and humans is hand hygiene. You should start by getting your hands wet with running water, and then apply enough soap to cover them. Then, scrub all the surfaces of your hands, including the spaces under your nails, between your fingers, and the back of your hands. You should do this at least 20 seconds. After you rinse them thoroughly with water and then dry them with a single-use towel or a clean cloth.

An easy way to time washing your hands is by singing the happy birthday song two times in a row. When it comes to using hand sanitizer, you should use one that contains at least 60% alcohol and do the same procedure as washing your hands with soap, at least for 20 seconds.

Make sure to wash your hands:

  • Before and after eating
  • Before and after taking care of a sick person
  • After sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose
  • After visiting public spaces like places of washing, markets, or using public transportation
  • After touching surfaces outside your house

Generally, you should always wash your hands when they are visibly dirty, after touching pets, changing babies diapers, after handling garbage, before and after eating and after using the toilet.

Do Not Share a Toothbrush

You should never share a toothbrush with anybody, no matter how close they are to you, if you are related or if they are people you live with. Other than exposing your gums and teeth to new bacteria that might not play nicely with the bacteria that your body already knows, sharing a toothbrush is also how this virus can be caught from other people. Besides not sharing a toothbrush, you should make sure that the toothbrush you have is kept apart from the other toothbrushes in your household so their heads don’t accidentally touch.

Another thing to watch out for is where you keep your toothbrush. If you keep your toothbrush near the toilet, some of the water might spray out of the toilet land on your toothbrush every time someone flushes. According to research, the virus can also be spread through fecal matter. You should make sure that your toothbrush is far away from the toilet, or even better, close the lid when you flush.

Clean Your Bathroom on A Regular Basis

The place where many of our towels, flannels, toothbrushes and other intimate items are stored in our bathroom. This is the place we also go to when we want to get clean. For the reasons mentioned above, it is important that all the surfaces in our bathrooms are cleaned constantly with a cleaning product that is bleach-based.

Visit the Dentist

You should keep your regular visits to the dentist. It is best to check if your appointment is still on by phoning the dentist’s office ahead because this is a period of great uncertainty. Your appointment might be canceled or delayed for the safety of both the patients and the staff. The more routine procedures are usually delayed for some time in the near future, but the more emergency treatments are probably still available.

Don’t Forget About the Basics

In addition to visiting your dentist when possible, you shouldn’t forget about your oral health routine in order to keep a healthy mouth. You should brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride, clean the spaces between your teeth with floss or interdental brushes, avoid sugary foods and drinks as much as you can and drink plenty of water and consider using mouthwash. You should practice spitting instead of rinsing because rinsing will wash off the fluoride toothpaste that needs to protect the teeth during the day.

Stay safe!