It’s that time of year everyone dreads, cold and flu season. When you or your loved ones catch a cold or the flu, the main thing on your mind is to get better as soon as possible. Honestly, taking care of your teeth is probably not something you worry about. But it should be a concern as colds and the flu can cause plenty of problems for you to deal with later on. Your Arlington, TX dental team has compiled a few tips to help you take care of your teeth during the roughest part of the year.
Should You Toss Your Toothbrush?
Hopefully, you don’t share a toothbrush with another person. This is a great way to share germs and viruses. You cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and hope others do too. Why? Mostly to prevent the spread of sickness causing germs. Sharing a toothbrush is never a good idea, especially when you are sick. The moist environment is perfect for the flu virus where it can live up to 72 hours. You may have heard you need to toss your toothbrush after being sick. It’s not necessary as it’s highly unlikely you can re-catch either a cold or the flu by using it unless your immune system is compromised or weakened in some way. However, if it’s been three or more months since you replaced it, consider tossing it. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Using Cough Drops
Cough drops can help soothe a sore throat or clear out sinuses. They are a common go-to for those who have a cold or the flu. However, they can be harmful to your teeth. They contain a lot of sugar and when you hold them in your mouth while they soothe your throat, the sugar feeds bacteria which thrives on sugar. Before you buy a bag, read the ingredients list. Try sugar-free cough drops instead to help prevent cavities.
Make Your Own Mouth Rinse
No one likes to think about vomiting. It’s very unpleasant and it can be difficult to discuss. It can also be bad for your teeth. When you throw up, stomach acid comes into direct contact with your teeth. Brushing your teeth right afterward can end up coating the teeth with stomach acid. You can rinse your mouth out with plain water to help remove it. Or, you can also make a mouth rinse by adding a teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water. Swish and spit, then wait about 30 minutes before brushing.
Benefits of Hydration
When you are ill, your doctor will recommend drinking extra fluids. Maintaining a healthy hydration level is beneficial for fighting off viruses and colds. But, it’s also good for your oral health. When you become dehydrated, you can get dry mouth which can increase the risk of developing cavities. Some of the medications taken for colds and the flu can tend to dry out your mouth too. But drinking plenty of liquids can help prevent it. Sucking on sugar-free cough drops can also help stimulate the production of saliva and help prevent dry mouth as well.
What types of liquids are best? Your Arlington, TX dentist always recommends drinking water. It’s the safest option. But what if your doctor suggests drinking sports drinks to help with electrolyte levels? Drink it only for as long as you need to, then discontinue it. You may also try sugar-free sports drinks.
Contact Fielder Park Dental
Do you have more questions about protecting your oral health during cold and flu season? Contact us at Fielder Park Dental, we are happy to help. Is it time for your routine exam? Call us today to schedule your exam with Dr. Chip Mercer, Dr. William Saunders, Dr. Zimmerer, or Dr. Petty.