Coronavirus and Your Oral Health
- Dr Jeremy Rourke
- March 21, 2020
Amid the panic buying for toilet paper and sliding share markets, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has quickly brought a lot of uncertainty into our lives. Decisions need to be made on travel, attending school, the workplace or even keeping routine medical appointments.
We want to provide our patients with a sense of calm and explain how we protect you from infection so that you don’t compromise your oral health by delaying dental appointments during this period of uncertainty.
In fact, having poor oral health could just be your Achilles heel in fighting off an infection like Coronavirus.
How we keep you safe from infection
As an accredited dental practice, we maintain extremely strict hygiene procedures and infection control to protect both our patients and staff from all types of infection. We take these hygiene practices seriously.
Upgraded Precautionary Steps for COVID19
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, we have implemented further precautionary steps, including:
- We have extended our ‘In surgery’ hygiene controls to the reception area. We clean with a hospital-grade antiseptic and antibacterial products across all surfaces in the reception area between every patient appointment.
- We ask our patients to please clean their hands with the antiseptic gel (provided by us) on arrival.
- We have removed all magazines from the reception area
- We are now staggering patient appointments, resulting in only one patient in the waiting room at any one time.
- We take the forehead temperature of all staff twice per day, and all visitors be they patients, other guests or delivery couriers
- We ask each patient if they are unwell, if they think they have been in contact with someone who may or does have the Coronavirus, and if they have recently travelled overseas.
- We have allocated more available emergency appointments across the day for our patients.
Our regular infection control continues
These infection controls include:
- Disinfecting all surfaces in the treatment rooms between patients. This includes disinfecting the dental chair, benchtops, cupboards, handles and all surfaces.
- Adhering to strict disinfection and sterilisation cleaning protocols.
- Sterilising all instruments (or single-use) for every patient. The instruments remain sealed and are only opened in front of the patient.
- Our patients and staff wear the appropriate protective equipment – masks, gloves, sterilised safety glasses and protective clothing.
Regularly servicing the autoclave (sterilising machine) as well as testing daily.
- Wash our hands, to hospital standards, thoroughly before and after every patient.
- Mop the whole clinic with hospital grade disinfectant.
Provide alcohol hand sanitiser at reception for all patients to use.
- In the reception area, we daily (this has now been upgraded to immediately after each patient) antiseptic and antibacterial clean all surfaces.
- We have extended our ‘In surgery’ hygiene controls to the reception area.
- We clean with a hospital-grade antiseptic and antibacterial products across all surfaces in the reception area between every patient appointment.
Why you should maintain your oral health during a Coronavirus outbreak
Common dental issues such as bleeding gums, gingivitis or chronic periodontitis can leave your mouth more exposed to a viral infection. Also, oral health plays a vital role in overall health including your immunity to fight off infection. Most cases of Coronavirus eventually subside, like the common flu, it is mostly those with lowered immunity or existing health issues where the more serious complications, and unfortunately death, can occur.
Maintaining oral health and therefore your overall health will allow your body to put up its best defence against any virus or infection. Having any dental or outstanding health issues seen to should be your priority rather than putting this off to a later date.
Tips to avoid getting or spreading Coronavirus
There are many ways you can prevent catching or spreading viruses like Coronavirus in your day to day life. These healthy habits will serve you well at all times in your life:1
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the rubbish.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Coronavirus is certainly something to be aware and concerned about. It pays for us all to remain vigilant and practice our normal hygiene routines. If it’s been a while since you’ve been to the dentist, now is a good time to ensure that your oral hygiene won’t compromise your bodies defence against infection.
Dr Rourke provides a thorough dental exam to ensure that your oral health is in check. We strive to create an anxiety-free practice. If you have any underlying fears or concerns prior to arrival, please let us know so we can make you feel as comfortable as possible during your visit. Your health and well-being are our number one priority.
Source – Department of Health, Australian Government