With cold and flu season in full force, you’ve probably noticed more coughs and sniffles everywhere you go. And believe it or not, having a cold or the flu can negatively affect your teeth and really put your oral health on the back burner. Dental health and overall health are strongly connected, and we want you to get and stay healthy so you can continue on with your everyday lives. So, if you happen to get sick, here we’ve put together some ways to help protect your mouth during this time of year.
Pay attention to brushing your teeth.
Spend at least two minutes brushing your teeth, twice a day. When you have cough drops in your mouth, the sugar left on your teeth makes more important to brush. Choosing sugar free cough drops is a good option as sugar can cause tooth decay and harm your gums. Revisit proper tooth brushing here.
Replace your toothbrush.
When you are over your illness, it may be a good idea to replace your toothbrush. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends you replace your toothbrush approximately every three to four months anyway.
Drink plenty of fluid.
Hydration and saliva are an important part of controlling cavity causing bacteria. Dry mouth can also increase your chance of gum disease and cavities. Since many medications can cause dry mouth, be sure to stay on top of the right amount of hydration.
Gargle with salt water.
Especially if you vomit, which is common with the flu, it is better to swish with water first before brushing your teeth. A mixture of water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda can help wash the acid away. Make sure it’s fully dissolved first. Gargling can also help reduce harmful bacteria and plaque.
After you’ve felt better, you can also follow up with your dentist with any questions you may have. Find a dentist near you here.