It’s December, which means we’re in the heart of cold and flu season. If you’ve ever suffered through a cold or the flu, you know that your dental health is probably the last thing on your mind. However, having these illnesses can affect your mouth, and not for the better. Keep reading to learn five flu season tips from your dentist to keep your teeth healthy.
1. Brush Your Teeth Well
Being sick can make doing everyday tasks feel like impossible feats, but still, you should brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time. It might be easier if you brush first thing when you wake up and last thing before you go to bed.
2. Drink Plenty of Fluids
Staying hydrated is crucial in helping your body fight off infections. Colds and the flu can make dry mouth a serious problem, especially when you can’t properly breathe through your nose. Dry mouth means you don’t have enough saliva to wash away bacteria, increasing your risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Stock up on water, soup, and orange juice to replenish your fluids and keep dry mouth at bay.
3. Throw Out Your Toothbrush
As soon as you start feeling better, replace your toothbrush. It can harbor bacteria that may re-infect you. The last thing you want after recovering from an illness is to get sick all over again!
4. Gargle with Saltwater
Let a tablespoon of salt dissolve in a glass of water. Gargle and spit until this solution is gone. It helps eliminate harmful bacteria in your mouth and throat, reducing the effects of plaque and bad breath.
5. Choose Sugar-Free Medicine
Many cold and flu medications and throat lozenges are loaded with sugar for taste, which can wreak havoc on your pearly whites. It coats your teeth in a residue of sugar that can cause cavities and gum disease. If you can’t find any medications that are sugar-free, then at least brush and/or rinse afterwards.
The annual cold and flu season can be miserable enough without also throwing tooth decay and gum disease in the mix. Follow these tips from your dentist, and your teeth and gums will thank you!
About the Author
Dr. Raj Vekariya first earned a dental degree in India before moving to the United States and obtaining a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the prestigious New York University. He is always trying to improve his patients’ experience at his practice, Center One Dental in Canonsburg, PA. To learn more about how to take care of your teeth this time of year, click here to visit Dr. Raj’s website.