Since March, the world at large and our country was turned upside down by news of the confirmed COVID-19 pandemic. With this emergent issue, we as a dental practice have taken on the responsibility to remain accessible for our patients, the community, and for Mercy Regional Medical Center for whom I maintain attending dentist/physician status for emergency calls. Our team has remained available since the beginning of this crisis.
As a holistic dental practice, we have always thought beyond restoring teeth. It is the health of the individual that drives us. As such, the need for our team to stay healthy has been of utmost importance during this time of crisis.
To follow are the things that we as a team have implemented to help us stay healthy, and to provide our patients with a safe, comfortable, and hygienic experience in our office:
Besides following the universal infection control guidelines that the CDC put into effect years ago to prevent spread of infections and disease in a dental setting, we have exceeded the protocols recommended per the CDC and federally set guidelines.
We have screened all patients prior to their arrival to the office to rule out a possible COVID exposure with extensive and detailed questioning, as recommended by the guidelines from Mercy Regional Medical Center.
We have implemented social distancing protocols, allowing only one patient at a time back into the dental operatories. We have also limited exposure into the waiting room by not having patients or their family members sit inside to wait, asking patients instead to sit in their cars until we were ready for them.
We have kept in continuous operation two air ozone generators going 24/7 to keep the air and our environment as clean as possible.
We have daily team meetings to stay up to date with the evolving crisis, and to discuss any issues or concerns.
Beyond these protocols, here is what the team is doing individually to stay healthy:
Vitamin Supplementation to boost our immunity
We have supplied our team members with vitamin supplementation and herbal remedies to boost immunity, and to increase the drainage of any toxicity from the body. Some of these supplements are as follows:
High doses of Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to boost the immune system by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune systems. It is a powerful antioxidant, as well as a cofactor for a family of biosynthetic and gene regulatory enzymes. Vitamin C strengthens the epithelial barrier function against pathogens, promotes the oxidant savaging of skin and prevents and treats respiratory and systemic infections. Vitamin C has a strong affinity for the lungs, and thus help to protect against the Covid-19 virus. It has been used successfully in China with great outcomes to treat the virus. I recommend 5-8 grams (5000-8000 mg) per day.
Proteolytic Enzymes (more commonly known as digestive enzymes). This supplement has been used traditionally to aid in digestion and is typically taken with meals. But when taken on an empty stomach, these enzymes can help to control inflammation and breakdown pathogens entering the body. The best proteolytic enzymes are the ones that contain animal enzymes — proteases called pepsin, trypsin and chymotrypsin. When taken with food, they help breakdown dietary proteins like meat, eggs and fish into smaller fragments called amino acids. On an empty stomach however, they can attack the protein layer of the corona virus that attaches to the mucosa of the nose, throat, and lungs, causing it to become non-active. I recommend 3-5 tablets 3 times a day, as your GI system will tolerate.
Vitamin D3 and K2. This supplement supports the immune system and proper calcium absorption. It also helps to support the teeth, bones, heart, and muscles.
Bee Propolis spray. Propolis is made from bee honey supports the immune system. It contains natural bacterial and virus fighting properties and contains antioxidants, plus over 300 beneficial compounds. Propolis is called nature’s ultimate defender for a reason. It has soothing properties that will coat the throat, one of the main places the COVID virus likes to hang out and propagate. So in essence, Propolis helps to prevent the virus from attaching to the throat tissue. I would recommend spraying Propolis into the throat multiple times a day.
Hydrastis nasal spray: This is a homeopathic spray that decreases the inflammatory process in the nose. We know the virus likes to attach to the nasal mucosa, and this product is one of the best nasal sprays to prevent attachment of viruses. It also works great for nasal dryness, congestion, allergies, and sinusitis. I recommend spraying this into the nostrils several times a day.
Lymph and pulmonary drainage remedies. These are herbal remedies that help mobilize the immune system to flush out pathogens through your body’s elimination pathways. I would take as directed, added to water if you can find them.
Probiotics. Probiotics help to promote a healthy digestive tract and gut biome, and thereby build your immune system. If your gut is unhealthy, your immune system spends a great deal of time and energy trying to control the inflammation, thus it’s soldiers – the ‘good’ flora and bacteria – are limited in their ability to fight a foreign invader such as COVID.
Vigilant hygiene practices. Above all, wash your hands frequently and do not touch your face. If you do not have soap to wash with when you need to go out, carry along some hand sanitizer. Anything with over 70% alcohol content is an effective sanitizer. Lately I am greeting people with air hugs and elbow bumps, but in Cortez, CO, they are greeting each other with a salute!
Good sleep hygiene. It is extremely important to get a good night’s sleep to build your body’s defenses. The body cleanses itself during REM sleep – 7 hours is about right for adults, and 9 hours for young children. Breathing through your nose is important also, as the nasal mucosa is more efficient than the throat to fight foreign invaders. Your nasal mucosa carries important immunoglobulins that are part of your immune system. When you mouth breathe, you lack the ability to utilize these first responders against unhealthy pathogens. If you can’t train yourself to nose breathe at night, try to train your breathing while sleeping by using Breathe Right nasal strips, Nasal Mutes or Nasal Cones to open up your nasal airways, as well as putting tape on your mouth (do it gradually and do it with micropore tape, not duct tape). Start out by placing tape 20 minutes before you go to bed to get accustomed to it, then try to fall asleep this way. Use tape until you feel you have successfully adapted to nasal breathing. Some people use these nasal tapes continuously to help encourage this.
Mental health hygiene: Fear and anxiety both depress your immune system, big time. Take time out from worrying and do something fun, even if you are stuck at home. Frequent breaks, stress reduction techniques like meditation and self-nurturing activities such as hobbies, talking with family or friends or exercise are all important for your mind, as well as your immune system.
Call us if you need advice, have questions, or want more information. Wishing you and yours good health and strong immunity in this COVID world!
John A. Rothchild, DDS