It’s that time of year again. Your family and coworkers are sniffling and sneezing – it’s only a matter of time until you start, too. Every year we face the cold and flu season. If you are unlucky enough to get sick, your oral health may be the last thing on your mind. But if you follow these tips you can be sure to take care of your oral health as you fight a cold or suffer from the flu.
- Brush your teeth. Although you may not feel like it, brush for at least two minutes to keep up on your oral hygiene habits.
- Stay hydrated. Your body needs extra fluid to fight infection. Because you may be breathing through your mouth because your nose is stopped up, you may experience dry mouth. Dry mouth reduces the amount of saliva in your mouth and increases cavity causing bacteria. This is because saliva is important in the prevention of cavities and gum disease. Drink plenty of water and tea. Also load up on soup and juice to stay well hydrated.
- Toss your toothbrush after start to feel better. Your toothbrush can harbor bacteria and make you sick again if you continue to use it.
- Gargle with saltwater. This is an old home remedy that actual works. Gargling with saltwater reduces the bacteria in your mouth and helps reduce the effects of plaque and bad breath. Mix a teaspoon of salt into a warm glass of water and gargle and spit until the water is gone. It is not the tastiest remedy, but it does work.
- Choose sugar free cough drops and syrups. Many cough drops and cough syrups use sugar to sweeten them. This can contribute to tooth decay. Try looking for medicine that is sugar free and sweetened with sucralose, xylitol, or other sugar substitutes. Wait a half an hour if your medicine is acidic before you brush your teeth. This will give your enamel a chance to harden.
If you come down with a cold or the flu, be sure to get your rest and drink plenty of fluids. Don’t forget your oral health while you’re sick and look for sugar free medicines to help get you through this time of year. Call or contact us today if you have any questions about the effects of a cold of flu on your oral health.