It’s the time of year everyone dreads, cold and flu season. It happens every year and you probably at least know someone who has already had the flu or a cold. You or your loved ones may have been affected. Naturally, your attention is focused on getting better and your teeth may not be foremost in your mind. However, there are a few tips your Oasis Dental team in Newton Square suggests to help care for your teeth in cold and flu season.
Should I Change Out My Toothbrush?
Generally, it’s a good idea to never share toothbrushes. It’s way too easy to spread germs and viruses when you share a toothbrush with someone else. It’s an easy way to prevent sharing germs just like covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough. Secondly, some people think you must toss your toothbrush and get a new one when you have been sick. This is not necessarily true. Dr. Spieler typically suggests changing out your toothbrush every three to six months. If you get sick and it’s inside this window of time, it’s okay to go ahead and replace it. However, if you are concerned, it’s okay to switch it out for a new one.
Choosing Cough Drops
If you have a sore or scratchy throat, you may reach for a cough drop for some relief. However, most cough drops and throat lozenges are made with sugar. When you hold one in your mouth for a long time, you are feeding bacteria. It needs sugar to thrive. This can lead to damaged teeth just like eating hard candies. When you are buying cough drops, always read the ingredient list and buy cough drops that are sugar-free.
Rinsing Out Your Mouth
One of the most unpleasant things about being sick is throwing up. Understandably, no one really wants to discuss that topic. Vomiting can also be hard on the teeth since stomach acid, which is supposed to stay in the stomach, is suddenly in contact with your teeth. It’s not a good idea to brush right after you throw up. Instead, rinse your mouth out with water. If you’d like to make your own mouth rinse, just add a teaspoon of baking soda to a cup of water. Rinse your mouth with it and spit it out. This will remove the damaging acid. Wait about 30 minutes before trying to brush your teeth.
Staying Hydrated to Care for Your Teeth During Cold and Flu Season
If you are ill, your doctor is likely to suggest you stay hydrated. They may also recommend drinking sports drinks to help balance out your electrolytes. If you need to drink sports drinks do it only while you are sick. You may also try sugar-free sports drinks. Water is always a safe choice. It’s important to prevent dehydration as it can complicate your condition. Staying hydrated is also important for your oral health. When you become dehydrated, you can get a condition known as dry mouth. This can create an environment conducive to developing cavities. Dry mouth can also be brought on by some of the medications taken for cold and flu symptoms.
Drinking water and staying hydrated can prevent it. But it can also be beneficial to hold a sugar-free cough drop in your mouth. This will help stimulate the production of saliva and help prevent dry mouth. Staying hydrated is helpful for caring for your teeth in cold and flu season.
Do you have questions about your oral health? Is it time for your regular checkup? Call us today to schedule an exam with your Ardmore, PA dentists at Oasis Dental. We are dedicated to your oral health and we are here to help you.