The Coronavirus pandemic is a good time for everyone to learn more about the importance of hand wash and its association with your oral health. Always keep your hands clean and wash them frequently. It is one of the most important things you should follow for your oral and overall health.
Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, you must have heard how to wash your hands properly several times. You must also have heard why handwashing is vital for your dental hygiene.
You should keep in mind that your oral health could have far-reaching effects on your dental health. How? Inflammation from oral bacteria or periodontal disease could damage the tiny blood vessels in your gums. Thus this process allows the bacteria to enter your bloodstream quickly.
Keep reading below to know more about why hand wash is essential, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Quick Facts Related to Hand Wash
Here are a few quick facts you should keep in mind about hand wash:
- Thorough frequent handwashing is a must, using soap and water. Soap can protect you and your family from a range of infectious diseases. Especially during these Covid times.
- Always prefer liquid soap or liquid hand wash over bar soap, especially at work or in public. Hand wash liquid can clean faster and more effectively. You can also use liquid refill hand washes.
- Remember that using soap and water to wash your hand is better than using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Dry your hands thoroughly after a hand wash. This step helps prevent the spread of any infection.
Hand Wash Works to Fight Diseases
Washing hands can help eliminate bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that may lead to disease and infection. Once these microorganisms enter your digestive system, they might create havoc. But you should take the proper steps to wash your hands properly.
Avoid using mobile phones too often. Simply rinse your hands with water. It does not do the trick. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that you should strictly adhere to the following steps to eliminate dangerous pathogens entirely.
1 First wet your hands, preferably using running water. Warm or regular tap water at room temperature might help. Just turn off the tap, and apply soap.
2 Lather your hands properly. Rub both of them together with the soap for a few seconds. You can use hand wash liquid soap. Do not forget to lather your hand between your fingers, at the back of your hands, and especially under your nails. Additionally, you can use aloe vera products for hand wash as it is a key ingredient that helps clean your skin while maintaining moisture balance.
3 The next step is to scrub your hands for not less than 20 seconds. Scrub all surfaces of your hands, also your fingertips, fingernails, and wrists.
4 Then rinse your hands well under running water.
5 Lastly, use a clean towel or an air dryer to dry out your hands.
Following these steps will allow the soap to do its work. If you do not thoroughly wash your hands – you can permit harmful bacteria to make you and others sick.
Oral Bacteria, Your Mouth and Hand Wash
Do you know that your oral microbiome comprises all the good and bad bacteria in your mouth? Interestingly, there are more than 700 different species of bacteria in your mouth that influence your oral health?
The healthy bacteria in your oral microbiome protect your mouth by fighting tooth decay. Alongside these beneficial bacteria, there are harmful bacteria as well. These harmful bacteria can be responsible for all kinds of oral problems like infections and cavities.
Together, these bacteria create a biofilm community, commonly known as dental plaque. Parque or tartar gives rise to tooth decay and gum disease in the long run. Reducing the number of these bacteria can impact your oral microbiome – it can only start with simple handwashing.
What are biofilms made of? The human oral cavity harbors thousands of microbial species present in the oral cavity. All these bacteria are incorporated into biofilms. These biofilms are dense micro-communities that grow slowly on the inert surfaces of your teeth.
Over time they slowly cover your teeth with their secretions. The gene structure of this biofilm is such that it can protect the microbes from disinfectant agents or antibiotics. Therefore, these biofilms can pose a severe threat to your oral health if they settle on your teeth’ surface.
Remember that your oral cavity has diverse biofilms, and dental plaque is just one example. Plaque on teeth is primarily a poly-microbial biofilm that can cause oral infections, such as tooth cavities, gum disease, and gum infection. Over time these oral biofilms start to develop in your mouth, they can damage the hard as well as the soft tissues.
Due to the physical nature of the bacteria, these biofilms are very dangerous for your teeth and gums. Therefore, you need to be extra careful while you wash your hands. Use water and soap to wash your hands after any dirty activity and before meals. Neem soaps are also good from the neem tree. All you need to do is take proper steps to prevent the entry of these harmful microbes into your mouth.
Hand Wash Helps Prevent Spread of Infectious Diseases
Are you aware that contaminated hands can spread a number of infectious diseases from one person to another? Some diseases that spread through contaminated hands might include respiratory infections. Examples are influenza, gastrointestinal infections such as salmonellosis, colds, flu, and coronavirus.
These microbes have a unique survival strategy that generally grows in your oral cavity. Many microbes associate together to form unique communities, complex matrix-like structures known as biofilms.
If you wash your hands properly with water and soap, it can help prevent the spread of these germs. Most of these bacteria, viruses and bacteria can cause most oral and other diseases.
If you develop respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, it may cause serious complications. The symptoms could be more severe in children. It can also cause complications with the elderly population or those having a weakened immune system.
Unhealthy Diets Lead to an Imbalance in Healthy vs. Harmful Bacteria
Interestingly, there is a lot to know about the microbiome. Have you imagined a whole universe of good and bad bacteria that only inhabit your mouth? This small ecosystem can significantly impact your oral and overall health.
As you might be aware, your mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body? Meaning if pathogens overgrow in your oral cavity, they can easily get transmitted to your blood vessels and then to the other parts of your body.
The balance between healthy and harmful bacteria plays a crucial role in maintaining your health. When the balance between these bacteria shifts because of your poor diet, poor oral hygiene, and other oral health diseases, it becomes a problem. If left untreated, the harmful bacteria begin to take over in your mouth. The result can be awful. It could lead to oral problems like bad breath, gum disease, cavities, tooth loss, and sickness.
It is indeed true that your body has many immune systems in place to manage these germs. However, these harmful germs are often associated with numerous diseases and conditions that could affect various organs. On the contrary, health problems in other parts of the body can also influence your oral health.
The human body is a very complex process. As the inflammation from pathogens or periodontal disease damages the blood vessels in your gums, the oral bacteria might take minutes to enter your bloodstream. Studies have proved that oral bacteria are associated with diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and even depression.
Hand Wash – Why is it Important?
You need to teach your children that washing hands regularly is not just good hygiene. It is responsible and healthy living as good personal hygiene affects your entire family. If you do not wash your hands, you could spread dangerous bacteria.
In addition, after using the restroom, practice washing your hands with soap and water. Try using warm water and soap if available. Take some time and make a good lather with the soap all over and underneath your fingernails. Scrub your hands for about 20 seconds to make sure you have removed all the infectious germs.
Washing your hands with soap and water will help remove substantially more disease-causing organisms than washing hands with water alone. If you are allergic to soap or have skin irritation, you may use other soaps that suit your skin type.
Note that all soaps have different pH. Those available in the market could be neutral, slightly alkaline, or slightly acidic. Sometimes the perfumes added to the soap might irritate. Trying to change your soap might help reduce irritation.
As you must be aware, the alcohol-based hand sanitizers popularly used during Covid times are very effective against some viruses, specifically coronavirus. However, these sanitizers are not effective against other bacteria and viruses. Hence the best solution to prevent infections is to wash your hands often. If soap is unavailable, you may use alcohol-based sanitizers containing at least 60 percent alcohol.
If anyone in your family has the flu, cold, or other illness, you need to be extra vigilant about washing your hands to avoid spreading infectious germs. Remember that if you can not wash your hands, keep a small bottle of antibacterial hand sanitizer to help with germ protection when you are out and traveling.
Taking care of your oral health should be included in your daily routine. Try following a regular hygiene routine by caring for your healthy teeth, hands, and body. It can improve your looks and help you to stay healthier.
Due to the pandemic outbreak, scientists and researchers are continuously finding new ways to maximize the microbiome’s health so that they are not easily affected by the germs from your hand. For example, using probiotic foods and specific food categories might make a difference. Hence you should select fruits and vegetables to prevent harmful bacteria from developing.
Remember that practicing good dental habits is vital to keep your oral ecosystem healthy and prevent dental problems. Brush your teeth twice daily and floss once a day. These are the minimum steps to start with. And if you use an antimicrobial mouthwash, it can further help reduce plaque, tartar, and gingivitis. So start today.