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How To Maintain Dental Health While You’re Sick

Got a tickly throat, dry cough?

Cold and flu season is upon us, which means you could find yourself feeling under the weather over the next few months. During this time, it is more important than ever to take extra care of your oral health!

But it isn’t enough to just brush and floss – there are plenty of ways to ensure you’re getting back to being yourself while being conscious of your oral health. Here are some of the best ways you can keep you and your teeth in tip-top shape!

Stay hydrated.

Drinking water is important for restoring your health back to normal, as well as protecting your teeth and gums. Dry mouth is a common occurrence when you’re sick—particularly if you’re taking medications for the cold or flu such as decongestants, pain relievers, or antihistamines.

The downside is, dry mouth can increase your risk of cavities, halitosis, and even making it more difficult to speak and swallow. Therefore, be sure to keep drinking plenty of water while you recover.

Choose sugar-free cough drops.

Cough drops can be helpful in soothing your throat when you’re under the weather. However, some cough drop brands can be particularly sugary—almost as if you’re just sucking on hard candy! If you are popping one every hour, the sugar can be particularly harmful to your dental enamel.

This is because the bacteria in plaque feed on the sugar. When doing so, they release acids that corrode your teeth and lead to decay. To prevent this damage to your teeth, check the labels on the packaging. Avoid purchasing any cough drops that are high in fructose or corn syrup.

Rinse with baking soda after vomiting.

If you’re suffering from a stomach bug, you may experience vomiting as an unfortunate side effect. Your first instinct may be to instantly brush your teeth afterwards. However, we urge you not to do so!

When you vomit, stomach acids are released onto the surfaces of your teeth. Brushing immediately can help facilitate the acid’s corrosion of your dental enamel – after all, toothpaste and brushes are made to be abrasive.

Instead, try rinsing your mouth with a baking soda mixture first. To make this mixture, simply add 1 tsp. of baking soda to a small glass of water. Rinse and spit with this solution to both neutralize the pH of your mouth and help wash the remaining bile away. After that, you can wait about 30 minutes to brush your teeth, knowing that you’ve helped your enamel stay strong!

Protect your teeth from certain fluids.

Some fluids can be more harmful to your teeth than others. Water is, of course, the best beverage to consume to maintain your health. However, some like to have sports drinks in order to replenish their electrolytes. Should you choose to do so, make sure to drink them in moderation. Sports drinks contain a lot of sugar and can therefore lead to tooth decay.

Consider replacing your toothbrush.

The flu virus has the ability to sustain on a moist surface for 72 hours, according to the CCOHS. Therefore, it is especially important not to share your toothbrush—particularly when you’re under the weather.

While the chances of reinfection are relatively low, it is not a bad idea to replace your toothbrush with a new one after you’ve been sick.

Should You See Your Dentist When You’re Sick?

Whenever possible, it is best to avoid dental appointments when you have fallen ill. For one, you may not have the stamina to sit through an entire appointment and more importantly you protect others around you from getting sick.

Instead, reschedule your appointment to when you are feeling better. We’ll be waiting for your call!