Oral Care When You Are Sick
By Ann Sielicki on June 14, 2020
When you’ve come down with a cold or the flu, the best thing you can do is take care of your body, including your mouth. Although it’s easy to let dental hygiene habits fall to the wayside, keeping up your hygiene routine is crucial. Read on as Dr. Ann Sielicki of Sonoran Dental Design reveals four important ways to take care of your oral health when you are sick.
Don’t Neglect the Basics
No matter how exhausted you feel, remember to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once a day. The risk of cavities and gum disease is still real, even when you are under the weather.
Some experts believe toothbrushes can harbor bacteria that may make you sick again after you’ve recovered (although not all dentists agree). If in doubt, toss your brush in favor of a new one. If it has been a few months since you’ve replaced it, you are probably due for a new brush anyway!
Look for Sugar-Free Medication
Many cough medicines and throat lozenges contain corn syrup, fructose and other ingredients that are detrimental to your oral health. Some medicines are as bad for your teeth and gums as a piece of candy, particularly lozenges that make prolonged contact with your teeth. Stock up on sugar-free alternatives to reduce the risk of cavities and other oral health problems.
Avoid Dry Mouth By Staying Hydrated
Hydrating when sick is essential: it is common to lose more fluids than normal when you have the flu or a cold. Drinking plenty of water and drinks like Gatorade helps replace the fluid and electrolytes you have lost due to illness, and fluids help lessen congestion if you have a cold.
Hydrating is important for oral health reasons, too. Antihistamines and other medicines can reduce your natural production of saliva, leading to dry mouth. A lack of saliva leaves your teeth and gums vulnerable to threats like cavities and gum disease. Drinking more water or sucking on sugar-free lozenges will help stimulate the flow of saliva to fight off dry mouth.
Rinse Your Mouth After Vomiting
Vomiting is an unfortunate symptom of some viruses. But resist the urge to brush your teeth right after vomiting to get the taste out of your mouth. Brushing simply coats your teeth and gums with the acid from the vomit, and that can lead to enamel erosion.
Instead, rinse your mouth out with water, mouthwash diluted with water or a mixture of water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.
Dr. Sielicki and the team at Sonoran Dental Design are here to answer any questions you have about oral health care when you are sick. Call or email us today.
“Dr. Sielicki and her staff are professional and I immediately felt comfortable. My teeth look fantastic. I could not be more pleased with the outcome.” Emily