Flu and cold season is upon us and most households are affected by one or both of these conditions. When someone in your home gets sick, the primary goal is to get them to feel better again. The health of your teeth may not be the first thing on your mind. But there are some ways to protect your teeth and mouth when you have a cold or flu. Your Marietta, GA dental team has compiled a few dental health tips to help you with your oral health during the cold and flu season.
Toothbrushes and Oral Care
It’s important to take measures to prevent the spread of germs and viruses. This is why it’s common to cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. Sharing a toothbrush with someone else is never a good idea, but an even worse one when you are sick. A moist environment can sustain the flu virus for up to 72 hours. By sharing a toothbrush, you can share sicknesses. However, it’s not likely that you could re-infect yourself with your own toothbrush. It is better to be safe than sorry, though. If it’s been three months since your toothbrush has been replaced, go ahead and replace it if you have been sick.
Dental Health Tips and Cough Drop Use
It’s not uncommon to use cough drops to help ease some of the symptoms of the flu or cold. They can help relieve a sore throat and help clear sinuses. The trouble with cough drops is they usually contain sugar. This is exactly what bacteria need to thrive in the moist environment in your mouth. Before buying cough drops, read the ingredient list on the package. Choose sugar-free cough drops to help protect your teeth.
Using a Mouth Rinse
One of the most dreaded parts of being sick is vomiting. Most people don’t even want to think about it, let alone discuss it. When you throw up, stomach acid is allowed to come into contact with the teeth. It’s not a good idea to brush your teeth right after vomiting. It will just coat your teeth with the acid. Try rinsing your mouth out instead. Swish water around in your mouth and then spit it out. A good mouth rinse is made by adding a teaspoon of baking soda to some water. Use it to cleanse your mouth after throwing up. Then, after about 30 minutes, try brushing your teeth.
Dental Health Tips and Hydration
One of the main things to help you get through when you are sick is staying hydrated. Your doctor will probably recommend extra fluids. Not only is staying hydrated good for the body, but it’s also good for the teeth. Lacking hydration can cause dry mouth which can increase your risk of cavities. Some medications taken to help with flu and cold symptoms can also cause dry mouth. Make sure to stay hydrated to prevent it. You may also keep a sugar-free cough drop in your mouth to help encourage adequate saliva production which can help prevent dry mouth too.
What should you drink? Dr. Mark Caceres suggests water as the safest option. But your doctor may recommend sports drinks to help with electrolytes. If this is the case, drink it while you are sick, but don’t continue once you are better. You may also want to try sugar-free sports drinks.
Contact Your Marietta, GA Dentist
If you have any questions or concerns about oral health and the flu or colds, please contact us. Is it time for your routine exam? Schedule your visit today!