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17 Mar 2020

What can you do to ease anxiety and fear during the Covid-19 lockdown? Advice for dental patients

None of us expected to be off work and staying at home for several weeks due to a virus that has killed thousands of people across the world. The Covid-19 crisis has caused widespread anxiety and many people are worried about what the future holds. It’s natural to feel stressed, to be anxious and to be fearful about what is going to happen in the coming days and weeks, but there are steps you can take to try and ease anxiety and keep fear at bay.

One of the best pieces of advice you can take on board during lockdown is looking after your physical and mental health. Whether you’re able to work from home, you’re a key worker, or you have been furloughed, it is so important to take good care of yourself. For dental patients, there is nothing more beneficial than a good daily oral hygiene regime. Dental hygiene is designed to eliminate harmful bacteria, protect the teeth and gums and lower the risk of diseases, such as decay and gum disease. By brushing the teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste and flossing, you can reduce the chances of developing sore and swollen gums, cavities and sensitivity dramatically. It’s also crucial to think about what you’re eating. Many people have embraced lockdown as a chance to get healthy, but others have admitted to relaxing healthy eating habits and grazing on snacks and convenience foods throughout the day. There is absolutely nothing wrong with not spending hours whipping up a culinary storm in the kitchen, but eating well has incredible benefits for your health and wellbeing.

In terms of diet and dental health, it’s beneficial to think about how often you’re eating, as well as what you’re eating. Snacking poses significant risks for the teeth because it causes the enamel to come under prolonged attack. Bacteria feeding in the mouth produces acids, which weaken the tooth enamel. Eating three main meals is much better for the teeth than grazing, as it reduces the number of acid attacks and enables the enamel to recover. Cutting down sugar intake, eating calcium-rich foods and swapping fizzy drinks for water and sugar-free cordial can also lower the risk of decay.

Anxiety and stress have wide-ranging implications for health, and it’s useful to try coping mechanisms to make you feel calmer and more relaxed. For many, lockdown has provided an opportunity to exercise more, and this is great for all aspects of wellbeing. From home workouts to jogging in the park or going for a bike ride, there are multiple ways to work up a sweat. Exercise releases endorphins and increases serotonin and dopamine levels to produce a natural high. It can also aid sleep and help to reduce stress and tension.

Anxiety levels are high at the moment, and everyone is going through a difficult time. The good news is that there are coping mechanisms you can try and tips you can take on board to tackle stress and reduce anxiety.

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