As we’re in the throes of cold and flu season, it is more important than ever to take good care of our health—including our oral health! Here are four easy ways that you can recuperate from any illness you may encounter this season while still maintaining your teeth and gums.
1. Drink plenty of water.
Staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do to restore and maintain your health. Not only does this help you get over an illness, but it is also beneficial to your teeth and gums. If you’re taking decongestants, antihistamines, or pain relievers, you are likely to suffer from dry mouth. By drinking plenty of water, you can combat the effects of dry mouth, which includes increased risk of cavities, gingivitis, halitosis, and even difficulty eating and swallowing.
2. Be sure to swap your toothbrush.
Did you know that, according to the American Dental Association, you’re supposed to swap out your toothbrush every 3 months? This is particularly pertinent if you’ve been sick. While getting reinfected is not highly likely (unless your immune system is very compromised), the flu virus does have the capacity to sustain on moist surfaces for up to 72 hours. Therefore, if you’ve been sick, you might consider swapping out your toothbrush now.
3. Buy the right cough drops.
If you’re getting a bad cold, cough drops could be your saving grace. However, it is very important to check the labels when you’re purchasing a cough drop. Many of them can contain a substantial amount of sugar, as though they’re basically just hard candies. While this may taste delicious, it can be quite harmful to your dental enamel. The bacteria in plaque eat the sugars in your food and then, after about 20 minutes, release acids onto the surface of your teeth. Therefore, if you have sugary cough drops resting on your teeth, you could just continuously expose the dental enamel to prolonged acid attacks. Therefore, as you purchase cough drops, be sure to read the labels and avoid any brands that are high in corn syrup or fructose.
4. If you vomit, rinse first.
Unfortunately, getting the flu can often be accompanied by vomiting—a symptom that is as bad for your oral health as it is unbearable to deal with. When you vomit, your first instinct may be to brush your teeth. However, we recommend that you rinse with a baking soda mixture first. This is because, when you vomit, your stomach acids linger on your dental enamel. Therefore, brushing immediately only helps to facilitate their corrosive process. Instead, by first rinsing with a water-baking soda mixture, you can neutralize these acids and make it safe to brush.
Want to improve your oral health this year? We can help! Call TruBlu Dentistry in Burbank, Chicago, and Hegewisch to schedule your next routine dental check-up.