Taking Care of Your Mouth When You're Under the Weather

March 3, 2017

 

It's important to wash our hands, cover our mouths and get plenty of rest during cold and flu season--but when we don't feel well our oral hygiene can lack.  Don't let this be you! 
 

Dental Hygiene

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.  You don't always need to toss your toothbrush after being sick, but when in doubt, it's better to start fresh.  If you have strep throat, be sure to replace your toothbrush 48 hours after being on antibiotics and again once you've recovered.  

 
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 plenty of water and suck on sugarless throat lozenges.  

 
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.

 

Drink Healthy Fluids

Gatorade is 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). A good tip is to drink water after sipping on Gatorade or tea so you can wash the sugar and acid off of your teeth.  Be sure to drink plenty of water! :)  

 

If you have questions or need to make an appointment, please feel free to call 614-882-2249.

 

(Photo credit: http://ow.ly/6t35309rB06)

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