Dental offices across the country are struggling to cope with a surge in dental patients seeking treatment because of the recent coronavirus pandemic.
The rise is being driven by a surge of people in need of care in the past month, said Mark Kelleher, president of the National Dental Association.
In recent weeks, there have been at least 12,000 cases reported in the United States and Canada, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Mark Keltner, an associate professor of orthodontics at the University of Illinois, said it’s not just the demand for care that has pushed people into dental offices.
The uptick has also forced more doctors to take on new patients and patients with a variety of chronic health conditions, including cancer, diabetes and depression, Keltter said.
Drink a lot of waterDrinking plenty of water is the key to good oral health, said Dr. Karen Lippman, chief medical officer for The Body Shop in Austin, Texas.
It helps to reduce the risk of getting cavities.
It also helps to prevent plaque buildup, she said.
“If you drink enough water, you don’t need to do much cleaning, you just need to use a toothbrush and brush,” she said in an interview.
She added that the best thing to do to keep teeth clean is to avoid sugary drinks and snacks.
“I would advise against sugary sodas and chips because they contain high levels of fructose, sugar and other harmful substances that can cause dental cavities,” she wrote in an email.
Instead, take in the water that you normally drink and eat a healthy diet, Lippmann said.
“Try to eat more fruits and vegetables, especially when it’s late at night and you’re not eating a lot.”
Drink plenty of fluidsWhen you need a dental appointment, you should be drinking enough fluids, Littman said.
You should also be drinking lots of liquids, she added.
“The more fluids you drink, the better,” she added, explaining that you should avoid fluids that you’ve been drinking for longer than an hour.
Drink more teaDrinking tea helps to relieve tension, relieve pain and calm your mind, said Lisa Liss, a clinical dental internist in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Tea is often recommended for patients with constipation and headaches, Liss said, but it is also used for treating coughs and colds.
“We know tea helps relieve the symptoms of COVID-19,” she told ABC News.
“We have seen cases where people were able to take an overdose of tea.”
Drink it in a cup and you don