Flu season is upon us, and even if your home hasn’t been affected, you can’t help but be aware that it’s a possibility. Pharmacies are offering low-cost flu shots, flu-related medications are being advertised on television, and tissues and hand sanitizer are flying off the shelves of our local stores. When you are suffering with the flu (or any other illness, for that matter), the last thing on your mind may be your teeth, but at Breezy Bay Dental, we want you to be aware of how to care for your teeth when you’re sick.
- Keep up the oral hygiene routine. Bacteria is always a concern when it comes to dental health – after all, it’s what causes decay. But when you have the flu or any other contagious illness, there are all kinds of bacteria and germs that can hide in your mouth. Brush and floss regularly when you’re sick to keep the germs off of your teeth and gums. When you begin to feel better, it’s also a good idea to throw away your toothbrush to avoid recontamination.
- Use sugar-free cough drops and syrups. We all know that sugar is bad for our teeth, but when it sits in our mouths for prolonged periods of time (such as the length of time it takes a cough drop to dissolve), it’s even worse. As much as sugary cough drops and throat lozenges may taste better, they’re no better at providing relief when you’re sick. Do your teeth a favor and stick to the sugar-free products.
- Stay hydrated. Saliva is nature’s way of cleaning your teeth, so when medications such as decongestants and antihistamines make your mouth dry, you’re inviting decay. Be sure to stay hydrated while you’re sick to help flush out any bacteria or food particles that may be lurking in your mouth. If you’re tempted to go for a vitamin C boost by drinking orange juice, you’re better off sticking with water, as the acids and sugars in juices are harmful to your teeth.
With any luck, you’ll avoid the flu this season. If it does strike, however, you’re now prepared to care for your teeth while you care for the rest of your body. To ensure that your teeth are their healthiest, contact our Palm Harbor office today.