The COVID-19 pandemic is causing a lot of changes in our daily lives. We are social distancing, staying home, and unable to dine out at restaurants. It can be easy to slip into unhealthy eating habits during this stay-at-home period, but with a little thought and preparation, maintaining a healthy diet and good oral hygiene doesn’t have to be a chore.
Importance of healthy diet in times of COVID 19:-
Good nutrition is always important, but during this pandemic, it is important to understand that nutrition is intricately linked to immunity and to the risk and severity of infections.
Poorly nourished individuals are at a greater risk of various bacterial, viral, and other infections. Conversely, chronic or severe infections lead to nutritional disorders or worsen the nutritional status of affected people. Therefore, it is imperative for all of us to pay attention to our diet and nutritional status during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the clinical course of COVID-19 disease tends to be more severe among older individuals and among people with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer that are partly related to nutrition, and hence optimal nutrition plays an important role in maintaining health among people with such infections.
A healthy diet emphasizes on high consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts, moderate consumption of fish, dairy foods, and poultry, and limited intake of red and processed meat, refined carbohydrates, and sugar. Added fats should be primarily liquid oils such as olive, canola, or soybean oil. Such a diet will provide appropriate amounts of healthy macronutrients and essential minerals and vitamins. Eating high-quality sources of protein, fat, and carbohydrate can help maintain a healthy weight and good metabolic state; this is not a time for highly restrictive, crash diets. If someone does develop a COVID-19 infection, eating enough of these healthy calories to prevent unintended weight loss is important. Adequate amounts of minerals and vitamins provided by a healthy diet helps to ensure sufficient numbers of immune cells and antibodies, which are important as the body mounts a response to infections. Adding nutritional supplements to diet like vitamin c tablets, Vitamin d tablets, zinc tablets and multi vitamins can also help in building immunity. Older adults are most often deficient in these helpful micronutrients, and thus can derive the greatest benefit from supplementation, Also staying hydrated by drinking lots of water can also help in stronger immunity to fight various viral infections.
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Importance of Oral Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Given the current COVID-19 crisis, it’s becoming
more critical to maintain good oral hygiene and develop proper oral health habits. Oral health correlates with an individuals overall health and well-being. It’s important to maintain your oral health by keeping up to date with regular check ups and cleanings. Oral health is influenced by the diet one consumes. Food items that can be avoided for good oral hygiene are:-
· Sugar and sugary refined products like candies, cookies can cause dental caries.
· Cold drinks that causes erosion of teeth.
Research indicates that good oral health can prevent gum infections, bad breath, and tooth decay. On the other side, infections that begin in your mouth can be linked to health problems and conditions such as:
· Respiratory problems
· Cardiovascular diseases – oral inflammation or infection due to bacteria may
also play a role in clogged arteries and blood clots. Some studies suggest that people with gum infections are also at an increased risk of having heart attacks and strokes.
Those are just a few conditions that can be linked to oral health. Your mouth is the entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts. Developing and maintaining good dental
hygiene, such as daily brushing and flossing, can improve your overall health and keeps the bacteria under control.
How can you protect your oral health?
· Brush your teeth twice daily using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Avoid brushing vigorously because that can damage your gums.
· Floss your teeth at least once a day.
· Use a mouth rinse after brushing and flossing to help eliminate any leftover particles.
· Limit sugary foods and drinks intake.
· Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
· Maintain a well-balanced diet.
· Avoid smoking.
· Change your toothbrush once every 3 months.
· Routine check ups and regular cleanings with your dentist.
Diet and nutrition are significant influencers of oral health and can affect the development and progression of oral diseases. Thus making small changes in diet will surely help in the maintenance of oral hygiene and will also help to prevent infections such as covid 19.
By – Nehali Shailesh Garude
D. Y. Patil School Of Dentistry