According to the CDC, we’re entering the height of flu season. Flu activity usually peaks between December and February and can last into May. If you’re suffering with a cold, or worse, the flu it’s probably all you can do to take care of yourself. Hopefully you have help! While we know you’re feeling awful, it’s important to keep teeth healthy while you are sick.
We’re sharing some tips that will help you keep teeth healthy, no matter how bad you feel. If you have any questions, Call 1st In Smiles at 972-905-9266.
Don’t Give Up Your Regular Oral Hygiene Routine
It can be tough to get up the energy to brush your teeth when simply standing up feels like a tough task. But to keep teeth healthy, you should do your best to brush twice a day. Ideally, you’ll brush for two minutes each time, but any brushing is better than not brushing at all. Try to floss at least once a day too.
Since the hardy flu virus can survive on surfaces like a toothbrush or sink handles for up to 72 hours, be sure to practice good sanitation habits. Wash your hands before eating and after using the restroom. Cover your sneeze with your arm, not your hands. Not sharing your toothbrush is an oral hygiene best practice any time, but it’s especially important when you’re sick.
Throwing Up Is Tough on Teeth; Don’t Make It Worse
Let’s get real: throwing up is one of the worst parts of being sick. Your first impulse may be to brush your teeth to get the taste out of your mouth. You should fight that impulse, though. Rinse with water but avoid brushing right away. Stomach acids from vomit coat the teeth; if you brush immediately, the acid damages your tooth enamel. Make sure you’ve thoroughly rinsed your mouth out with water before brushing. If possible, wait about half an hour.
Choose Sugar Free Cough Drops
Many cough drops contain fructose or corn syrup. That means they’ll have the same effect on your teeth as hard candies. The longer the sugar from the cough drops remains in your mouth, the greater the chance bacteria will be able to turn it into tooth decay. To avoid this, choose sugarless cough drops.
Drink Lots of Water
We’ll echo what you’ve heard from your doctor; make sure you drink plenty of fluids while you’re ill. From a dentist’s perspective, doing so will help prevent dry mouth, an uncomfortable condition that also makes you more susceptible to cavities. It’s a good idea to stay hydrated any time – but it’s especially important when you’re sick because common medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, and pain relievers can really dry out your mouth.
Water is the best choice. If you’re doctor recommends sports drinks to help replenish electrolytes, look for a sugar-free version or at least drink them in moderation. Many of these drinks contain a lot of sugar.
Many of us like to enjoy comforting warm drinks like hot tea when suffering from a cold or the flu. If possible, avoid adding sugar or lemon. Again, the sugar and the acids in lemon can do a number on your teeth.
Don’t Worry About Keeping Your Dental Appointment
If you’re feeling sick, we won’t mind if you cancel your dental appointment. That way, you can recuperate at home until you’re feeling better – and you won’t bring any contagious illnesses into our office. We’ll be happy to get you back onto our calendar once you’re feeling better! We offer early morning hours, evening hours, and even Saturday hours to make it easy to schedule your appointments.
For more tips on keeping teeth healthy or to make an appointment, call 1st in Smiles at 972-905-9266.