Protecting Ourselves and Others From COVID-19 Through Improved Oral Health Habits

We all know the Centers for Disease Control recommends you help stop the spread of COVID-19 by practicing good general hygiene habits, such as regular handwashing, social and physical distancing, wearing a mask, and making sure to not touch your face. In addition, you can help stop the spread of COVID-19 in your own household by practicing good oral hygiene habits.

Here are some tips to get you through these trying times:

First, before you start to practice any oral care at home, make sure you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap. Keep in mind you’re about to put those hands IN YOUR MOUTH, and we’re in the midst of a global pandemic. Got your hands washed? OK. Good. Now –

Put a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste on your toothbrush. (It would be wise to invest in your own personal tube of toothpaste that you don’t share with anyone else to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria.)  Spend two minutes brushing your teeth in a circular motion with gentle pressure, making sure you brush the outside, inside and tops of all your teeth.

Keep your toothbrush clean after brushing with a thorough rinse under the faucet with hot water to remove the leftover food particles. Store it upright in a dry open space, away from the toilet and preferably away from everyone else’s toothbrush. If you’re using the same toothbrush holder, do not let your toothbrush head touch anybody else’s toothbrush head. Replace your toothbrush every 4 months or after recovering from an illness, whichever comes first.

Make sure you floss your teeth at least once a day. The American Dental Association has a great instructional video on proper flossing, should you feel the need to review.

Keep your bathroom clean! Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the cleaning products you use, focus on high touch surfaces (sink, light switches, door knobs, toilet, etc.), but be sure you remove all those things the things you flossed out of your teeth that wind up on the bathroom mirror as well! Visit the CDC for helpful hints about how to properly disinfect your bathroom.

Lastly, don’t share your toothbrush with anyone else. Again, we are in the midst of a global pandemic and we want to STOP the spread of COVID-19. Toothbrush-sharing introduces new bacteria from your toothbrush onto someone else’s teeth and vice versa. This makes it easy to potentially spread COVID-19, not to mention the common cold, influenza, herpes, or HPV. Furthermore, if the person you lent your toothbrush to is an aggressive brusher and bleeds on your toothbrush, you could also be at risk of contracting hepatitis, HIV or other communicable diseases.

In conclusion, in the midst of this pandemic, it is especially important to take these measures to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19, and achieve better oral health habits in the process.

Stay safe, Buckeyes!

-Kyle Sowash, RDH

Back to School Checklist: Managing Your Mental Health

Starting a new academic year is never easy – starting a new academic year in the midst of a pandemic is even harder. Navigating the dissonance of knowing that the procedures are in place to keep yourself and Buckeye Nation safe and healthy while also mourning the loss of fall sports, activities and the sense of “normalcy” can take a toll on you. Now more than ever it is important to proactively manage your mental health. Getting regular physical activity, eating a nutritious diet, maintaining a connection to friends and family (safely), practicing gratitude and utilizing preventive services like Wellness Coaching and the Peer Access Line will all aide in maintaining and improving your mental health. Start the school year off right and put your mental health on the top of your back to school checklist. Read below from 4th year Senior, Sly, on how he has learned to take care of his mental health at Ohio State.

  • What do you do to proactively take care of your mental health/wellness? What strategies do you currently have in place?

One of the biggest things I have done to take care of my mental health is by working out. This is important because I feel better after I workout and it is also my escape where I get to focus on myself and clear my mind. Another thing that I do to take care of my mental health/wellness is by taking self-care days. I am one who is always doing something so implementing these days allows me to re-energize and keep myself effective. Some of the strategies I have in place are planning out my day which allows me to utilize my time more effectively which will allow me to get an adequate amount of sleep which is important.

  • Who do you lean on for support? Friends? Family? Ohio State Resources?

My primary sense of support comes from my friends. I have a solid group of friends where we can be vulnerable with each other and talk about our problems and/or experiences. I have also started to utilize Ohio State’s Counseling and Consultation Services which has been a great resource.

  • How do your identities influence how you take care of yourself in college?

Being someone who is a: Black, first-generation college student, from a low socioeconomic status, I often find myself questioning whether I am doing enough in the academic space. This oftentimes puts a lot of pressure on me to always achieve at the highest level. I am one who appreciates healthy competition, especially with myself but sometimes this weight can be stressful. As a result, in most of the ways I try to take care of myself are through utilizing self-care days, days where I get to relax and relieve myself from pressure. This allows me to regain my strength and energy and helps me stay connected.

  • What advice would you give other Ohio State students in regard to proactive mental health/wellness?

My advice would be to surround yourself with people who genuinely care about you, who can be a resource, and point you in the right direction when they cannot. I would also advise one to find hobbies or to get in a routine where your mental health is prioritized.


Sly Worthy, 4th year
Majors: Social Work and African/African American Studies
President/Found of Buckeyes First Student Organization
Hometown: Lorain, OH