How to Keep Your Mouth Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

Sick in Bed

Winter = Holiday Season…Yay!
Winter = Cold & Flu Season…Boo!

 

While it is not exactly freezing here in San Diego, we are right in the middle of peak flu and cold season. While you are sick, we know it is tempting to stay in bed and dismiss your regular oral hygiene routine in order to get some rest. But proper oral hygiene is actually quite important when you are sick! Not only will it help speed up the recovery process, but it will contribute to the overall health of your teeth and gums. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth hydrated, and try to keep your nasal passages clear. While ill, having a stuffy nose often causes us to breathe through our mouths. A dry mouth is at an increased risk for cavities.

 

  • Remember that certain medications may affect the health of your mouth. Some medications can cause symptoms like dry mouth or affect your ability to taste. Cough drops and liquid medicines often contain sugar for flavor. If possible, take medicine with a meal to reduce the sugar build-up on your teeth or rinse or brush after use. The best choice is to select sugar-free options as available.

 

  • If you are unfortunate enough to catch a stomach flu or virus that causes vomiting, be sure to clean your teeth well since stomach acid can erode enamel (you’ll want to freshen and clean your mouth after such unpleasantness anyway!).

 

  • Replace your toothbrush following a cold or bout of illness. Although some studies have shown that reinfection is unlikely, toothbrushes have been shown to grow and harbor bacteria…so better safe than sorry. If more than one toothbrush is stored in the same area, be sure they are separated to avoid spreading the virus to others.

 

  • If necessary, over-the-counter biteguards can be replaced easily, but soaking biteguards or retainers in a strong antiseptic mouthwash is a good idea. Do not use hot water on them, as that may cause the plastic to soften and lose its shape. If you are concerned, you can also contact your dentist’s office to ask about ways they can to disinfect retainers or biteguards with cold sterilization.

 

Following these tips for oral health care when sick will help you emerge from your illness with healthier, cleaner teeth. If you have an appointment with McGann Facial Design, and on the day of your appointment you find that you are ill or have a fever, please contact our office to discuss possibly rescheduling.

We hope you stay well this cold and flu season (and all year-round). But if you do get sick, we hope you take care of yourself, recover quickly, and remember to take care of your smile too, you’ll need it when you’re feeling better.

 

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