Every year about this time, cold and flu season takes off. It seems like it never takes a break. There are not many houses left untouched by sickness. Individuals and families are focused on getting better. When you or a loved one is sick, your teeth are probably not foremost on your mind. Protecting your oral health in cold and flu season takes just a few simple steps. Your Saugus and North Boston area dentist has compiled a short list of simple things you can do to make sure your teeth remain healthy during the most challenging time of the year.
Should You Toss the Toothbrush?
As a general rule, you should never share a toothbrush with someone else. That makes it far to easy to spread germs and viruses around. Think about when someone sneezes or coughs and covers their mouth to prevent the spread of germs. Not sharing your toothbrush provides protection too. Many think they need to change out their toothbrush anytime they’ve been sick, but this is not necessarily true. It’s highly unlikely that you will re-infect yourself by using your own toothbrush. However, it is also better safe than sorry. Dr. Stephen Petinge generally recommends changing toothbrushes every three to six months. So, if it’s inside that time frame, or close to it, you might go ahead and switch for a new one.
How to Choose a Cough Drop
When your throat is itchy or sore, it’s easy to grab cough drops to provide some relief. According to your Saugus Dentist, that’s not always a good idea. The longer you hold a sugary cough drop in your mouth, the longer bacteria have to feed on the sugar that helps them thrive. Bacteria is a leading cause of cavities. Just read the ingredient list before buying throat lozenges or cough drops. Protect your teeth by opting for sugar-free brands.
Rinse Your Mouth
One of the worst parts of sickness for many people is throwing up. It’s not even pleasant to discuss it. But it can also be bad for your teeth. When you vomit, stomach acid comes into direct contact with your teeth. But don’t brush immediately afterward. Instead, swish and spit water to rinse it all out of your mouth. You can also make your own mouth rinse if you’d like. Just add one teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water and use it to rinse your mouth out. After about half an hour, it’s okay to brush your teeth.
Hydration and Protecting Your Oral Health
When you are ill, your doctor is going to tell you to push liquids to avoid dehydration. It’s not only vitally important for your body, but it can also affect your teeth. When you get dehydrated, you can develop a condition called dry mouth. You can also experience dry mouth as a side effect of using some common medications used to treat the symptoms of colds and flu. Dry mouth can lead to cavities.
Drinking water can help keep your doctor and your Saugus, MA dentist happy. Your doctor may also suggest sports drinks to help balance out your electrolytes. Choose sugar-free flavors to help protect your teeth. You may also suck on sugar-free cough drops. This will help stimulate the production of saliva which can help prevent dry mouth.
Do you have more questions about taking care of your teeth during cold and flu season? Or, is it time for your regular checkup? Call us today and let us take care of your dental needs.