Have you been so sick with a cold or flu that you just didn’t feel like taking care of your daily oral routine? It’s important to remember that being sick 7-14 days can impact your oral health if you don’t stay on schedule with caring for your teeth and gums. Let’s have a look:
Brush and floss every day, sick or not. And since the CDC says that the flu virus can survive on moist surfaces for up to 72 hours, please be sure to avoid letting your toothbrush touch another toothbrush. Of course, even when you are healthy, you don’t want to share a toothbrush with anyone. If your toothbrush is 3-4 months old, this is a good time to replace it for a clean, fresh start.
Is coughing on your list of symptoms? If so, stick with sugar-free cough drops for soothing relief. Lozenges with fructose or corn syrup allow cavity-causing bacteria to thrive.
Vomiting is just one of the unpleasant side effects of the stomach flu. Unfortunately, this can damage tooth enamel as well. The stomach acids that coat your teeth after you vomit need to be removed, but not by brushing, not just yet anyway. You can rinse well with water or a diluted oral rinse and brush after 30 minutes. You can also speed up the neutralization of stomach acids on your pearly whites by swishing a solution of water and 1 tsp. of baking soda in your mouth.
Drinking lots of fluids are important when you’re sick, as you want to stay hydrated. Fluids also help prevent dry mouth, especially if you are taking medicines like antihistamines or decongestants. Water is the safest fluid to drink for both your teeth and your body. If you need electrolytes, such as those in sports drinks, stick to the sugar-free choices.
Remember, if you are sick, just brushing and flossing will help your mouth feel fresher cleaner, and help you feel better overall. If you have any concerns about your oral health, call our Dental Arts of Frederick at 301-663-5552. Our dentist, Dr. Kevin Oakes and team in Frederick, Maryland are here to help you keep your mouth healthy all year round!