Keeping up with your brushing and flossing routine is especially important when you are sick. Many things that are commonly used to sooth cold and flu symptoms, such as medications, cough drops, and juice, can wreak havoc on your teeth if you aren’t careful. Staying in bed and forgoing your regular hygiene routine in the name of rest and recovery may be tempting to some people, but your teeth need even more attention to make it through an illness with no harm done. A few precautions may help aid your whole body in staying well once you’ve recovered. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth hydrated, and try to keep your nasal passage clear. Colds and sickness often clog our noses and cause us to breath through our mouths. Many decongestant medications cause dry mouth. A dry mouth is at an increased cavity risk.
- Avoid cough drops and cough syrups loaded with sugar. Choose sugar-fee, and if you must use a cough syrup or liquid medicine that contains sugar, rinse well or brush after use. If you are unfortunate enough to have a stomach flu that causes vomiting, be sure to clean your teeth well since stomach acid can erode the enamel (people always want to freshen and clean their mouth after such unpleasantness anyway!)
- Replace your toothbrush following a cold or bought of illness. Although some studies have shown that re-infection is unlikely, toothbrushes have been shown to grow and harbor bacteria, so better safe than sorry.
- If necessary, over-the counter biteguards can be replaced easily, but soaking biteguards or retainers that are meant to last for years in a strong antiseptic mouthwash for a while is a good idea. Do not use hot water on them as that may cause the plastic to soften and lose its shape. You can also contact our office to ask about ways we can help you disinfect retainers or biteguards with cold sterilization if you are concerned.
If you have an appointment at Mall of Georgia Dentistry, and on the day of you find that you are ill or have a fever, please contact our office to talk about rescheduling. It will help avoid exposing our office staff and other patients to infection, your appointment will go much better when you are well, and, obviously, illnesses are best recovered from by staying home and resting yourself! We hope you stay well this winter and all year-round, but if you don’t, we hope you take good care of yourself and recover quickly. Just remember to take care of your smile too, you’ll need it a lot when you’re feeling better