As the winter season comes in, so does your risk of catching a cold or flu. But if you’ve started feeling under the weather, it’s hard to think about anything but getting better. However, your teeth can be negatively affected when you’re sick. That’s why we’re sharing ways you can easily protect your oral health while recovering from a cold or flu:
- Drink plenty of water.
When you have a cold or flu, it’s essential to drink plenty of fluids. However, just make sure you are drinking water and not some other sugary beverage. Exposing your teeth to a lot of sugar increases your risk for cavities and other oral health issues.
Since you need fluids with electrolytes are often needed after episodes of vomiting or diarrhea, try to avoid sugary sports beverages. Instead, consider drinking coconut water. It naturally contains electrolytes and won’t harm your teeth.
- Rinse out your mouth with water after you have thrown up.
If you have the stomach flu and you are throwing up, resist the urge to brush your teeth right away. The acids that come up when you vomit are harmful to your teeth and brushing too soon can damage your tooth enamel. Instead, rinse out your mouth with water and wait a half hour before brushing.
- Choose sugar-free cough drops.
Cough drops are often the go-to item for much-needed relief from coughing or sore throats. Unfortunately, they expose your teeth to a great deal more sugar which increases the bacteria in your mouth.
Choose a cough drop that isn’t made with sugar. While most sugar-free cough drops are made with aspartame, which has potential health risks, choose one made with Xylitol. This is a much safer artificial sweetener. It may be harder to find in your store, but worth the purchase if you do find one.
- Replace your toothbrush when you feel better.
Once you are over your cold or flu, make sure you replace your toothbrush. It’s been exposed to germs while you’ve been sick and you don’t want to re-introduce that bacteria in your mouth. Plus, getting a new toothbrush is a wonderful way to give yourself a fresh start.
We hope these tips make it easy for you to protect your oral health while you are sick. Most of all, we hope you feel better!