Cold & Flu Season: Caring for Your Mouth When You're Under the Weather
It's cold and flu season! With all the germs floating around we all know to wash our hands, cover our mouths and get plenty of rest--but sometimes our oral hygiene is lacking. Don't let this be you!
It's important to continue brushing when you are sick. According to the CDC, the flu virus can survive for 72 hours on moist surfaces. If you have strep throat, be sure to replace your toothbrush 48 hours after being on antibiotics and again once you've recovered. You don't always need to toss your toothbrush after being sick, but when in doubt, it's better to start fresh.
Use Sugar-Free Cough Drops
Avoid sugary cough drops because they can cause cavities. Halls, Ricola and Equate are a few cough drop brands that carry sugar-free throat lozenges.
Swish and Spit After Vomiting
The most awful part of the stomach flu and other illnesses is vomiting. It is better to wait about 30 minutes to brush after vomiting. Instead, you may immediately rinse with either water, a diluted mouth wash or a combination of water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda to wash away the acid (the reason is: if you brush immediately after vomiting, you are rubbing the acid from your stomach over the outer surface of your teeth).
Drink Fluids to Avoid Dry Mouth
Common cold and flu medications, such as antihistamines, decongestants and pain relievers, can dry out your mouth. Dry mouths are a way to cause cavities, so to keep saliva flowing, drink a lot of water and suck on sugarless throat lozenges.
Choose Healthy Fluids
Water is the best fluid for you, whether sick or healthy. Sports drinks are a favorable fluid to restore electrolytes when you're sick; it's just important to drink them in moderation because they contain a lot of sugar. Another option is a warm mug of tea (just be mindful of added sugar).
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