It’s the time of year most people dread, cold and flu season. Very few houses and families are left untouched when the season is in full swing. Of course, the primary concern when someone in your household is ill is getting better. You’re probably not thinking about protecting your teeth. Even though your oral health isn’t the first thing on your mind, it is important to take steps to ensure they are protected. There are a few simple oral health tips to help you maintain a healthy mouth even when you don’t feel good. Dr. Kellam and the Bernardsville Dental Care team have compiled this list with a few simple tips to help.
Time to Toss the Toothbrush?
You’ve probably heard after you’ve been sick you need to toss your toothbrush and get a new one. This is not necessarily true. Even if you’ve been sick, it’s not likely you will re-infect yourself by continuing to use your toothbrush unless you have a seriously weakened or compromised immune system. Dr. John Kellam recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to six months. However, if you haven’t replaced it in a few months, it can’t hurt to do so. It is better safe than sorry.
Also, remember that it is not a good idea to share a toothbrush with someone else. It’s too easy for you to share germs if you share a toothbrush. Just like you cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough so you don’t spread germs, you should protect your toothbrush by not sharing it with another person.
Choosing the Right Cough Drops
Cough drops are often a go-to when you need to soothe a sore or itchy throat. While they may offer some relief, they also contain a lot of sugar. Sucking on a sugary cough drop can be damaging to your teeth. While you are holding it in your mouth, bacteria are feeding on the sugar. You are feeding it just what it needs to survive in your mouth. Bacteria can lead to cavities. You can prevent this by reading the ingredient list on the package before you buy it. Always choose sugar-free cough drops to protect your teeth.
Use Mouth Rinses
Probably one of the most uncomfortable things about being sick is throwing up. It’s not a pleasant topic, but it’s important that it be addressed. When you vomit, stomach acid enters your mouth. Don’t brush your teeth right away as it can spread the acid around in the mouth and actually coat your teeth with it. It’s better to just rinse your mouth out with water first. You might want to make a mouth rinse too. Just add a teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water. Swish it around in your mouth and spit it out. Then after about 30 minutes, it’s okay to go back and brush your teeth.
Hydration and Oral Health Tips
Your doctor is going to tell you how important staying hydrated is to your health. But it’s also important for your oral health. Not only does your body get dehydrated if you don’t consume enough liquids, but you can also get a condition called dry mouth. This can contribute to cavities. Dry mouth can also be caused by some of the medications you take to help relieve your symptoms. One thing you can do is use the sugar-free cough drops. They help stimulate the production of saliva which can be a good defense against dry mouth.
Water is always the safest choice for staying hydrated. Sometimes, a doctor may suggest sports drinks to help balance out electrolytes. If so, drink it only while you need it, then discontinue it. These sugary drinks are not good for your teeth. If there are sugar-free sports drinks available, they are the better option.
If you have questions about maintaining oral health while you are sick, please call us! Is it time for your routine dental exam? Go ahead and schedule your appointment with your Bernardsville, NJ dentist.