This time of year, the cold and flu season is in full swing.  Hopefully, you will be able to avoid catching either one. Chances are it will visit most households. If you or one of your family members are ill, the focus is going to be on feeling better as soon as possible. While taking care of your teeth and mouth may not be foremost in your mind, it is important to maintain a good oral care routine even when you’re sick. In some ways, it’s even more important when you have the flu or a cold. Your Vienna, MO dental team has compiled a list of oral care tips specifically for when you are not feeling your best.

Maintain Good Oral Care Habits

Preventing the spread of germs and viruses is important. This is why people should cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough. Sharing toothbrushes is never a good idea. When you are sick, it’s an even worse idea. The flu virus can live as long as 72 hours on a moist surface. Sharing toothbrushes is a guarantee of spreading the illness. However, you are not likely to re-infect yourself by continuing to use your toothbrush so there’s no need to replace it. However, if it has been three months it’s about time to replace it anyway. You may want to go ahead and do so. It’s always better safe than sorry.

Choosing Cough Drops

Cough drops can provide a lot of relief when you are sick with a cold or the flu. But don’t grab the first bag you see. Take time to read the ingredient list on the label. Most brands of cough drops contain mostly sugar. Sucking on a sugary cough drop can be hard on your teeth. Bacteria in your mouth thrive on sugar and eating cough drops back to back is like feeding the bacteria. This can lead to cavities and damaged teeth. When buying cough drops, choose sugar-free.

Rinsing Out Your Mouth

Perhaps one of the worst symptoms of the flu or a stomach virus is vomiting. It’s not a pleasant topic, but it can be damaging to your teeth too. When a person throws up, acids from the stomach comes into direct contact with the teeth. Brushing right afterward can spread it around can coat your teeth with this damaging acid. Instead, try swishing your mouth out with water to get rid of the acid. A mouth rinse can also help remove the acid. Just mix a teaspoon of baking soda with water and rinse your mouth out with it after throwing up. Then, wait about 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.

Proper Hydration

When you are ill, your doctor will probably recommend proper hydration. Being hydrated is good for your body. Drinking plenty of liquids is also beneficial for your teeth. When you are not well hydrated, you can have dry mouth. This can increase the chances of developing cavities. Some of the products taken to relieve symptoms can also dry out the mouth. Using sugar-free cough drops can help your mouth maintain a healthy supply of saliva to help prevent dry mouth as well.

To stay hydrated, you’ll want to drink plenty of liquids. Your best and safest choice is always water. Sometimes, your doctor may recommend drinking sports drinks to help with your electrolytes. Choose sports drinks that are sugar-free when possible. Once you are better, limit their consumption.

Contact Barnhart Dental

Contact us with any questions you may have about your oral health and cold and flu season. Schedule a checkup to be sure your mouth and teeth are healthy after you’ve had the flu or a cold. Dr. Joseph and Dr. John Barnhart are dedicated to helping you maintain good oral health. Call today!

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