Cold and flu season, unfortunately, will not be over until around May. We hope you won’t have to worry about it, but if the bug should hit you, it’s important that you don’t let your oral hygiene fall by the wayside. Here are a few simple steps to take to make sure that you maintain healthy teeth and gums even if the rest of your body isn’t feeling 100%.
It’s common advice to drink lots of fluids when you’re sick. It just so happens that this doesn’t just ease flu symptoms, but it can help prevent dry mouth as well. Those who have suffered from it know that dry mouth can be an uncomfortable condition, and it can increase your risk for cavities and even periodontal (gum) disease. Drinking lots of water keep your body hydrated and keeps saliva flowing, washing away food particles and bacteria that can lead to tooth decay.
Even less than thinking about being sick, you probably don’t want to think about throwing up, an unfortunate symptom of the flu. But it’s important to know that it can be harmful to your teeth if you brush them right after you vomit. It might feel good to have a clean mouth, but the stomach acids that come up and come into contact with your teeth are very harsh, and brushing just spreads them around and can cause damage. It’s best, in those situations, to swish and spit to protect your mouth.
Cough drops can provide much-needed relief when your throat is feeling scratchy and raw, but the bacteria in your mouth may be feasting while you’re trying to stop coughing up a lung. If you choose sugary cough drops, you’re feeding those bacteria, potentially damaging your teeth. Instead, look for sugar-free drops.