Oh no! Despite your best efforts to avoid it this year, you’ve caught a terrible cold (or worse – the flu) and now you’ve spent several miserable days in bed trying to nurse yourself back to health. Between blowing your nose every five minutes and going through what seems like hundreds of cough drops, the last thing you’re thinking about is your teeth and gums. But you may be surprised to know that having a clean mouth can make you feel better and also help you avoid inadvertently causing cavities you didn’t have before. If you’d like to know about some simple things you could do to maintain a healthy mouth the next time you’re ill, a dentist in Zionsville talks about some great tips and tricks.
Why Is Your Oral Health Still Important When You’re Sick?
There are a couple of different reasons why your oral health is still important – even in the midst of a terrible cold. As mentioned before, it’s a surprisingly easy way to feel better. Brushing and flossing can help you feel cleaner, and as a result, healthier as well.
Secondly, many of the common ways of treating your illness can actually contribute to the development of cavities! Cough drops loaded with sugar, dry mouth from the medications you’re using, not having the energy to brush and floss, and drinking large volumes of juice can all increase your risk for decay.
In addition, if you’re dealing with a stomach bug, the stomach acid from vomiting can also do a number on your teeth.
The last thing you want when you’re feeling better is to be faced with a toothache as a result of everything you did to treat your cold or flu.
What Can You Do to Make a Difference?
Here are several steps you can take to make sure your mouth stays healthy, even when you’re not:
- Choose sugar-free cough drops.
- Make sure your main fluid of choice is water. If you drink juice, be sure to swish with water several times afterward to wash away sugars.
- Do your best to brush and floss regularly. Also, a fluoride mouthwash (also called anti-cavity formula) is very helpful and easy to use.
- If you’re vomiting, swish with water directly afterward. The acids can temporarily soften your enamel, so you actually shouldn’t brush right after because the mechanical pressure of the bristles can be too abrasive. If you’d still like to brush, wait about 20-30 minutes.
- Unless you have a particularly weakened immune system, you probably don’t need to change out your toothbrush as the chance of re-infecting yourself is low. The general guideline for changing your toothbrush is every 3-4 months.
And as always, seeing your Zionsville dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning is an important part of any oral health care regimen.
By following these simple guidelines, you’ll still be able to smile with confidence after recovering from the cold or flu!
About the Author
Dr. Angelo Julovich is an award-winning general, restorative and cosmetic dentist who has been practicing for over 35 years. He loves helping his patients take care of their oral health under all circumstances and focuses on prevention first, treatment second. He can be reached for questions via his website, or at (317) 769-3335.