It’s hard to believe that summer is already over! Cold and flu season is right around the corner! With kids going back to school and the weather changing, it’s time to prepare for sick days. Your dental health is more compromised when you are sick. Here are a few ways to keep your mouth healthy!
Stay Hydrated to Avoid Dry Mouth
When you’re sick, you need plenty of fluids for many reasons. Not only will drinking water help you heal fast, but it will also prevent dry mouth. A dry mouth is uncomfortable and can lead to oral complications. Dry mouth can cause;
- Gum disease: Gum disease is a common complication of dry mouth. Caused by a bacterial infection from plaque and tartar buildup at the gums, gum disease is dangerous to oral health because it increases the risk of tooth decay, allowing decay to reach the tooth roots. Gum disease may even spread to the structures supporting the teeth, resulting in loose teeth and tooth loss.
- Tooth decay: Dry mouth allows harmful acids, plaque, and food remnants to stay on the teeth, often resulting in tooth decay.
- Enamel erosion: Acids left on the teeth as a result of dry mouth can lead to enamel erosion, a loss of the protective layer of the teeth. As the enamel erodes, the teeth are left vulnerable to tooth decay and root canal infection.
- Dental staining: Dry mouth increases the risk of dental staining and discoloration as a result of enamel erosion and increased levels of plaque and food debris on the teeth.
It is recommended to drink 11 cups of water a day for women and 15 cups a day for men. Stay hydrated and keep your teeth healthy!
Change Out Your Toothbrush
If you catch a bug, make sure to switch out your toothbrush when you are feeling better. Experts recommend you should change your toothbrush after getting sick, as a safety precaution no matter the severity of the disease. Even if the likelihood is low, germs attached to the brush will sit, multiply, and migrate to create a greater chance of you contracting something again. The likelihood is low, but a toothbrush can be the cause of reinfection of a bacterial illness, such as strep throat.
Stop the spread of bacteria and toss that toothbrush out!
Choose Sugar-Free Cough Drops
Sugar-free cough drops are a great choice when you have a sore throat. You still get the relief of soothing cough drops but no damage to your teeth. Sugar is the main contributor to cavities. When sugar is consumed, it interacts with the bacteria within the plaque to produce acid. This acid is responsible for tooth decay because it slowly dissolves the enamel creating holes or cavities in the teeth. Tooth decay can lead to tooth abscesses opting for a sugar-free option is the best choice when it comes to your dental health.
Swish and Spit After Vomiting
One unfortunate side effect of the stomach flu, among other illnesses, is vomiting. Not only is vomiting unpleasant, but it can lead to dental complications. When stomach acid creeps its way up into the mouth, it can easily wear down tooth enamel, also called tooth erosion. Without this protective layer of the enamel, your teeth are put at increased risk for decay, cavities, sensitive teeth, and discoloration.
Swish with water, a diluted mouth rinse, or a mixture of water and 1 tsp Baking soda, spit and brush about 30 minutes later.
Choose the Right Fluids
When it comes to your mouth and your body, water is always best. Being sick also can lead to insensible fluid loss, such as sweating from fever or blowing your nose. Some people lean towards Sprite to curb nausea, but Sprite is full of sugar and chemicals that can be harmful to your teeth and body. Water and teas are often a better choice.
Brush & Floss
Brushing and flossing can feel like a difficult task when you are sick, but it is extremely important. When you are sick, brushing, flossing, and mouthwash play an important role in a quicker recovery. So no matter how tired and achy you may feel, it is essential to remember your daily dental hygiene routine.
We want you and your dental health to stay in prime condition this coming season. If you are not experiencing any cold or flu symptoms, make an appointment today with Kaysville Family Dentistry.