When you have a cold or the flu, taking care of your body is important, and that includes taking care of your mouth. If fact, if you’re under the weather, brushing your teeth could help make you feel better. Like the way you feel better after taking a long, hot shower: when your mouth feels clean, you feel better. Here are some easy ways to care for your dental health when you’re sick:
- Good Hygiene: The CDC reports that the flu virus can live on moist surfaces for 72 hours. Of course, everyone knows not to share their toothbrush, but this is especially important when you’re sick. You also don’t usually have to replace your toothbrush after you’re not sick anymore. There is a low chance of you re-infecting yourself is low, though you can if you choose to.
- Choose Sugar-Free: Take a look at the label next time you buy cough drops. Many cough drops have sugar in them, so it’s basically like you’re sucking on candy. The main issue with cough drops is the fact that we tend to keep them in our mouth longer.
So, the longer you keep that sugary cough drop in your mouth, bacteria have more time to feast on that sugar, which produces the acid that causes cavities. Try to avoid ingredients like fructose or corn syrup and opt for sugar-free options if you really do need cough drops.
- Rinse your mouth: Vomiting is an unfortunate occurrence when it comes to having the stomach flu and other illnesses. Instead of brushing your teeth after you throw up, all you need to do is rinse your mouth. According to mouthhealthy.org, When you vomit, stomach acids are encountering your teeth and coating them.
So, if you were to brush right after, you’re just rubbing that acid all over the hard outer shell of your teeth. Try swishing some water or a diluted mouthwash around your mouth and don’t brush for at least 30 minutes.
- Drink Plenty of Water: Drinking water while you’re sick is important for many reasons, one being to prevent dry mouth. Dry mouth is not uncomfortable, but it increases the chance of cavities developing. Also, many of the medications we take for a cold or flu, like antihistamines, decongestants, or painkillers, can also cause your mouth to dry out. So, drink plenty of water and suck on sugarless cough drops or throat lozenges to increase saliva production.
Regular exams allow your dentist to monitor any conditions that may get worse over time or lead to other problems. By doing this, your dentist will be able to advise you on how to keep your mouth healthy and can also share nutrition recommendations. When you follow your dentist’s hygiene tips, you’ll be able to buy the right products and improve your dental care techniques, which can help ensure you’re doing everything you can to keep your mouth free of cavities. Give Foothill Dental Care in Livermore a call at (925) 961-5484 to book an appointment today!