When you’re feeling under the weather with a cold or the flu, oral hygiene might seem like less of a priority. But if you’re not careful, you could end up dealing with a dental emergency on top of your seasonal sickness! Fortunately, there are ways to protect your teeth while also treating the illness you already have. When it comes to your smile, your dentist in Marysville has 4 tips to stay healthy during flu season.
1. Stay Hydrated
When a cold makes it hard for you to breathe through a stuffy nose, it could put you at risk for dry mouth. The saliva your mouth produces helps remove bacteria and food particles on your teeth; less saliva means a higher chance of cavities and tooth decay. To keep your mouth moist, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and other liquids. The extra fluids will also make it easier for your body to fight the infection.
2. Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Even if you’re tired, you should always take the time to brush and floss thoroughly two times every day. In particular, you should clean your teeth with your toothbrush for at least two minutes at a time. Once you’ve gotten over your cold or flu, get a new toothbrush; your old one could be carrying bacteria and might make you sick again if you’re not careful.
3. Look for Medication That’s Sugar Free
Cough drops and syrups are often sweetened with sugar to help them go down easier. Unfortunately, being mixed with medicine doesn’t change the harmful effect sugar can have on your smile; the bacteria in your mouth can still feed on it to produce the acid that causes tooth decay. When shopping for medicine, look for ones that use xylitol or sucralose as a sweetener instead. If you do end up taking medicine that has sugar in it, remember to brush or rinse afterwards.
4. Try Gargling and Rinsing with Salt Water
Many dentists recommend using salt water to help kill bacteria in the mouth that you might have missed during your normal oral hygiene routine. Take a tablespoon of salt water and dissolve it in a glass of warm water. Use this solution to gargle until the glass is empty. (The solution is normally safe to swallow, but it’s generally recommended to spit it out instead.) To get the most out of this treatment, you should gargle with salt water one or two times each day.
It’s important to be prepared to deal with oral health problems – even when you’re already sick. If you think something is wrong with your teeth, call your dentist with your concerns as soon as possible. Don’t let the flu damage your beautiful grin!
About the Practice
Here at Darby Creek Dental, you’re not just a number in a file; our three talented dentists and the rest of our staff will always offer compassion and comfort while you’re receiving treatment. Whether you need a preventive checkup or a restorative crown, you can always expect a quality of care that’s a step above. To schedule an appointment or ask about protecting your teeth during cold and flu season, you can contact our Marysville office by visiting our website or calling (937) 644-8822.