As sick of staying at home as you might be, the reality is that we all might be cooped up a little bit longer. This isn’t a normal state of emergency that involves flooding like 90% of emergencies declared by U.S. presidents. This emergency means restaurants, retail stores, and worst of all, your family dentist, are closed for the foreseeable future. So how do you keep your family’s teeth healthy while everyone is stuck at home? Here are a few tips.

Brush Twice Daily

Ideally you’re doing this already, but we could all stand to use the reminder every once in a while. Brushing your teeth twice daily is one of the most effective ways to avoid plaque buildup on your teeth while you’re at home. Most dentists recommend switching to an electric toothbrush if you can. In addition, you should be brushing for at least two minutes each time you brush your teeth. If that seems impossibly long, try playing your favorite song for two minutes. It might help you — and especially your teenagers — add a little fun into your dental hygiene routine. Brushing your teeth might not seem like the most important thing in the world right now, but consider that almost 27% of adults are living with untreated tooth decay. At a time when you can’t see your dental provider, it’s important to control what you can.

Floss Daily

Flossing can seem even less appealing than brushing your teeth twice a day, but it is one of the most important oral hygiene habits you can incorporate into your daily routine. Try as you might, a toothbrush simply can’t reach all of the spaces between your teeth. And without a good cleaning, these areas can be the perfect environment for plaque and other bacteria to thrive. Not only can this contribute to bad breath, but it can accelerate tooth decay if you’re not careful about it. So whether it’s right after you brush your teeth in the morning or before you go to bed at night, make time to floss every day.

Watch What You Eat

When it comes to oral hygiene, watching what you eat is almost as important as brushing your teeth. Foods that use a lot of processed sugar or are very starchy may have adverse effects on your oral health. In addition, chewy or crunchy snacks and candies could be a bad idea. Any food with a lot of processed sugar can accelerate the development of plaque in your mouth. In addition, starchy foods and drinks can contribute to acid buildup in the mouth, which in turn may harm the protective surface of your teeth. Popcorn, hard candy, and other excessively hard or crunchy foods have the potential to crack teeth and damage gums, as well.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is a key component in promoting good dental hygiene. It might be easy to drink alcohol to pass the time while you’re stuck inside, but doing so can severely dehydrate the tissues in your mouth and gums. Not only can that make you feel kind of gross, but it could contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. When in doubt, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water every day. Carrying a reusable water bottle with you can serve as a great reminder to stay hydrated!

Good oral hygiene is essential to maintaining your health while you can’t go out to see your dentist. When tooth decay is almost 20 times more common than diabetes, the severity of oral health issues in the U.S. become crystal clear. Take good care of your teeth while you’re at home. Your gums and your dentist will thank you!