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A Dentist's Tips for Cold and Flu Season

Family with a cold in bed.

While everyone is excited for Fall, we all know what's just around the corner – cold and flu season. What you might not realize is that these sicknesses can have a significant impact on your dental health.

In this post, we'll explore the connection between cold and flu season and your teeth and provide you with some essential tips to keep your teeth healthy even when you're under the weather.

The Link Between Cold and Flu Season and Dental Health

You might be wondering how a sore throat and runny nose can possibly affect your dental health. The connection lies in the various symptoms and remedies that come into play during cold and flu season. First of all, your nasal cavity and oral cavity are connected, and since this is where many symptoms occur, an illness can have an effect on your teeth. In addition, there are some other surprising connections as well. Let's take a look at some.

Keep Up with Brushing and Flossing While Ill

When you're battling a cold or the flu, it's tempting to let your dental hygiene routine slip. However, this is precisely when it's crucial to maintain good oral care. The medications you take, coupled with reduced saliva production, can create an environment ripe for tooth decay and gum issues. Stay vigilant about brushing your teeth twice each day, and don't forget to floss.

Stay Hydrated

One of the keys to a speedy recovery is staying hydrated. But did you know that it also benefits your oral health? Illness can cause dry mouth since a stuffy nose may lead you to breathe out of your mouth more than usual. In turn, since saliva washes away harmful bacteria that lead to tooth decay, dry mouth can mean an increased risk of cavities.

Sip on water throughout the day to keep your mouth moist and bacteria at bay. Avoid sugary or acidic drinks, as they can be harmful to your teeth. If using an electrolyte drink to rehydrate, choose a sugar-free version if possible.

Choose the Right Cough Drops and Liquid Medications

Cough drops and liquid syrups can provide sweet relief for a sore throat and other symptoms, but some are loaded with sugar that bacteria love to feast on. Search out sugar-free versions to soothe your symptoms without feeding those harmful microbes. This small choice can make a big difference in preventing cavities. If you can't, then be sure to drink plenty of water and keep up with oral hygiene.

Try a Humidifier

A humidifier can work wonders when you're congested. It helps moisturize the air, making it easier to breathe. Additionally, it can prevent your mouth from drying out while you sleep. As we mentioned, dry mouth can mean an increased risk of cavities, so keep the air moist for better oral health.

Time Your Brushing

If you have a stomach virus, taking care of your teeth is key. While vomiting is never pleasant, it can be especially harsh on your teeth. Stomach acid can erode tooth enamel, making teeth vulnerable to decay. If you've vomited, your instinct might be to brush right away. Instead, rinse your mouth with water or a fluoride mouthwash to help neutralize the acid. Wait at least 30 minutes before brushing to protect your enamel.

Toss Your Toothbrush

Once you've recovered from your illness, it's time to also say goodbye to your toothbrush. Bacteria and viruses can linger on its bristles. Replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head to ensure you start fresh and maintain good oral hygiene. And if you live with others, keep toothbrushes separate while someone is sick.

Keep Teeth Healthy This Cold and Flu Season

Cold and flu season may bring discomfort and inconvenience, but it doesn't have to compromise your dental health.

If you have any concerns or need further guidance on dental care during cold and flu season, don't hesitate to reach out to your trusted dental provider. We are here for you in every season!


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