It’s that time of year again, cold and flu season. If you are unfortunate enough to have either of these, your first concern is, of course, to feel better as soon as possible. Your oral health might not be foremost in your thoughts while you are not feeling well, but it is important. Your Libertyville, IL dental team has compiled a few tips to help you with your oral health when you have the flu or a cold.
Importance of Consistent Oral Care
It is a common courtesy to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough in an attempt to prevent the spread of germs and viruses. In order to not share the flu bug, don’t share toothbrushes either. Most people know it’s not a good idea, but if you are sick it’s very important. The flu virus can live for as long as 72 hours in a moist environment. Sharing toothbrushes can spread sicknesses. You are not likely to re-infect yourself with your own toothbrush unless your immune system is weakened or compromised. It doesn’t have to be replaced after you’ve been ill, but it’s also not a bad idea. If it’s been three or more months since you replaced it, it’s better safe than sorry.
Using Cough Drops
Cough drops are often beneficial for relieving some of the symptoms of the flu and colds. They can help sinuses feel clearer and soothe a sore, itchy throat. Before purchasing cough drops, read the ingredient list. Most cough drops contain mostly sugar. Keeping a cough drop in your mouth is giving bacteria just what it needs to thrive, sugar. Using sugar-filled cough drops feeds the organisms that will eventually damage your teeth. Make sure to buy sugar-free cough drops.
Use a Mouth Rinse Instead of Brushing
Throwing up is not pleasant, and no one likes to talk about it. However, it can be harmful to the teeth. Vomiting allows stomach acid contact with the teeth. Don’t brush your teeth right after you vomit as it tends to coat the teeth with acid rather than cleaning them. It is best to swish your mouth with water. You can make a good mouth rinse by adding about a teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water. Use it to swish your mouth out and then wait about half an hour before brushing your teeth.
Most physicians recommend drinking extra fluids when you are battling a cold or the flu. Staying hydrated is good for your body, but it’s also good for your teeth. When you lack hydration, it can lead to dry mouth which can increase the risk of cavities. Various medications commonly taken to alleviate flu-like, and cold symptoms can also dry the mouth. Keeping sugar-free cough drops in your mouth can help the mouth create enough saliva to prevent dry mouth.
The absolute best choice for hydration is water. If your doctor recommends a sports drink to help balance out your electrolytes, opt for sugar-free flavors. Once you feel better, it’s best to not drink them at all.
Contact Attar Dental
Do you have questions or concerns about caring for your teeth when you have a cold or the flu? Contact us at Attar Dental and let us answer your questions. Is it time for a routine exam? Call today to schedule your next dental exam with Dr. Ala Dean Attar.