Not everyone associates cold and flu season with dental concerns. And yet, they are closely related. It’s getting to be that time of year again, when you and everyone else starts sniffling and coughing. Dental care probably won’t be the first thing you think of after you get sick. But your mouth can be affected by having the flu or a cold. To keep your teeth healthy, keep the following in mind.
Choose Medication That Is Free of Sugar
Cough syrups and cough drops can be loaded with sugar. And though Julie Andrews, in The Sound of Music, told us that “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”, it does no favors for your teeth. Sugar loaded medications can harm your gums and cause tooth decay. Sucralose and xylitol are sugar substitutes that sweeten medicine, and are reasonable substitutes for sugary cough syrups and cough drops. No sugar-free alternatives available? At least rinse or brush your teeth after you take a sugary medicine.
Wait half an hour before brushing, however, if your medicine is acidic.
Use Saltwater for Gargling
Take a glass of warm water, and in it dissolve approximately one tablespoon of salt. Now, until the saltwater is gone, gargle and spit, gargle and spit. This helps your throat and mouth by cutting back on harmful bacteria. It can reduce the effects of plaque and bad breath. Some find it comforting for a sore throat.
Get Rid of That Nasty Toothbrush
At the first sign of getting over your cold and flu, it is essential that you get rid of that germ filled toothbrush. You can become very easily re-infected with all of the bacteria harbored in the toothbrush you used when you were sick.
Drink Plenty of Fluids… And Then Drink More
Though you should always drink lots of water, when you’re sick, it’s even more important to stay hydrated. In order to fight off infection, extra fluid is needed by your body.
Unfortunately, a common problem when you’re sick is dry mouth. This is especially true if you can’t easily breathe through your nose. This becomes a dental problem because cavity causing bacteria are better control with the correct amount of saliva. The chances for gum disease and cavities are increased by a dry mouth. So, load up on the juice, soup, water, and so on to keep yourself hydrated.
Pay Extra Attention to Brushing Your Teeth
You are likely feeling exceedingly exhausted when you’re sick. And it may seem like a huge effort to get up and execute the proper oral and dental care required every day. But don’t let your exhaustion stop you from brushing and flossing the way you should. Always remember that at least twice a day, two minutes should be spent brushing your teeth. You may even find yourself feeling just a little bit better with the cleaner mouth. And when you’re sick, feeling better is always a good thing.
Of course, the best method of caring for your teeth, regardless of cold and flu season, is to pay a visit to Dr. Alex Rubinov. This experienced dentist knows all the ins and outs of oral health and can give you a smile of which to be proud. Please call at (718) 253-0800 to make an appointment, or ask a question online with our easy to use form.