Sniffling, sneezing, and coughing. Being sick can make it more
difficult to keep up with your daily routine. Don’t let your cold or flu
become an excuse for overlooking your oral hygiene. In fact, when
you’re sick it is essential that you continue to stick to your regular
brushing and flossing routine. Here are a few tips to keep you on
track and on your way to getting better.
Brush After Each Meal
When you’re sick, try maintaining a schedule of brushing your teeth
shortly after each meal. Your mouth can be a prime location where
bacteria breed. Being extra vigilant in your brushing routine is an
excellent way to minimize the multiplication of germs and bacteria.
Be Selective with Cough Drops and Lozenges
Numerous brands of cough drops and throat lozenges contain sugar. In fact, many cough drops
or lozenges are similar to candy. Candy, particularly sucking candy that lasts in your mouth for
an extended period of time, can lead to tooth decay. Bacteria in your mouth feeds off sugar to
create acids that damage your teeth. Consider looking for drops and lozenges that are sugar
free, or those that do not include corn syrup and fructose.
If you are vomiting, keeping your mouth clean is important. Stomach acids can damage your
teeth. However, brushing right away will just cause you to rub the acids all over your teeth.
Instead, rinse your mouth out with water or mouthwash and wait at least 20 minutes before
reaching for the toothbrush.
Drink Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated is one of the keys to recovery. Drinking water is also an effective way to
prevent dry mouth. Dry mouth can lead to decay and bad breath. Some medications you might
be taking to relieve your cold or flu symptoms might dry out your mouth, so be sure to continue
to drink water throughout the day.
Replace Your Brush
Once you have recovered from your illness, consider replacing your toothbrush. While it isn’t
likely that you would cause yourself to get sick again, you may wish to err on the side of
caution. The American Dental Association recommends that you regularly replace your
toothbrush every three to four months.
When you are sick, make it a point to keep up with your oral health. Your medications or over the-counter remedies can have an impact on your oral health. Watch out for sugar content in
cough drops and throat lozenges, and stay hydrated with water to avoid dry mouth. Keeping
your mouth healthy is the first step to keeping your entire body healthy. For more oral health tips or to schedule a visit to our office, please contact us.