Like it or not, we are in the midst of cold and flu season. Many houses will have members who experience one or the other and sometimes both. Of course, the primary goal is to kick it as soon as possible so you can feel better. You may not be thinking about your teeth while you are laid out in bed for a few days. But it is important to know how to take care of your oral care even when you’re sick. Your Birmingham dental team created a list of tips to help you with oral care when you are under the weather. The last thing you need after dealing with a cold or the flu is to have problems with your teeth.
Oral Care Tips & Maintaining a Daily Regimen
It’s important to try and prevent the spread of germ and viruses. This is why it’s good to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough. It’s never a good idea to share a toothbrush, but it’s an even worse idea if you are sick. The flu virus is known to live up to 72 hours in a moist environment. Sharing your toothbrush can spread illnesses. Hopefully, you do not share a toothbrush. It’s not likely that you would re-infect yourself by using your own toothbrush unless your immune system is seriously compromised. You don’t have to replace it after you’ve been sick. However, if it’s been three to six months since you have replaced it, consider replacing it anyway. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Dangers of Cough Drops
A cough drop can often help relieve some of the symptoms of a cold or the flu. When you purchase them though, be sure to read the ingredients list first. Most of them contain mostly sugar. Holding a cough drop in your mouth provides bacteria with just what they need to survive – sugar. You can actually be feeding organisms that damage your teeth. When you purchase cough drops, make sure to get a sugar-free variety.
Make a Mouth Rinse
Sometimes, the worst part about being sick is throwing up. No one really wants to talk about that. But it can be damaging to your teeth. When you vomit, stomach acid that is normally contained in the stomach enters the mouth and comes in contact with the teeth. It’s best to swish your mouth out with water than it is to brush your teeth at this point. You don’t want to coat your teeth with acid. A good mouth rinse is made by adding a teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water. After swishing out your mouth, wait about 30 minutes to brush.
The doctor is probably going to tell you to drink extra fluids while you are sick to prevent dehydration. While this is good for your body and helps you heal more quickly, it’s also good for your teeth. If you are not well-hydrated, you can develop dry mouth. This is a contributor to developing cavities. Your doctor will usually recommend pharmaceutical products to help relieve symptoms. These can dry out your mouth. Sugar-free cough drops can help the mouth produce adequate amounts of saliva to help prevent dry mouth. If you suspect you have dry mouth, contact us at Roberson Dental for an exam.
The safest liquid to drink is, of course, water. Oftentimes, a professional may recommend drinking sports drinks to help with electrolyte levels. If you can, choose sports drinks that are sugar-free. Once you start feeling better, avoid them if you can.
If you have any questions or concerns about these oral care tips and caring for your teeth while you are sick, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Schedule an exam with Dr. Roberson.