It’s easy to neglect your oral health when you’re feeling sick. Your head is stuffy, your nose is plugged up, or you’re coughing, and you might not feel up to the usual routine of brushing and flossing. However, maintaining your oral health is essential during illness for many reasons including limiting excess bacteria in the mouth, the drying effects of breathing through the mouth, certain medications, and the sugary remedies that can cause tooth decay.
Here are a few tips recommended by our endondontist in 40207 that will help get you on your way to feeling better:
Drinking water and other clear, non-sweet beverages can help clear congestion and boost the immune system. It is also important for preventing dry mouth.
A lack of saliva can cause tooth decay as well as bad breath (halitosis). Some medications to relieve mucus production can also dry out your mouth. Be sure to drink eight cups of water throughout the day for oral and overall health.
Brush After Each Meal
When you’re feeling ill, try to brush and floss shortly after every meal. Your mouth can be a prime breeding ground for bacteria.
Practicing extra vigilance in your oral routine during an illness can help keep germs in check.
Be Selective with Lozenges and Cough Medicine
Many brands of cough drops and throat lozenges contain sugar. In fact, they are remarkably similar to candy. Prolonged sucking on these palliatives can lead to tooth decay.
Bacteria in your mouth feed off of sugar to create acids that can damage your teeth. Consider sugar-free liquids, drops, and lozenges; or brush and rinse your mouth vigorously after consuming the sweetened varieties.
If you are vomiting, it is important to keep your mouth clean and hydrated as stomach acids can etch tooth enamel. The American Dental Association recommends rinsing your mouth well with plain water, or water mixed with a teaspoon of baking soda to counteract the acid. The ADA also recommends waiting 20 to 30 minutes after vomiting to brush your teeth, because the friction can rub the acid into your enamel.
Replace Your Brush
While it isn’t likely that you’ll reinfect yourself, you may feel safer erring on the side of caution by replacing your brush. The ADA recommends replacing toothbrushes or brush heads every three to four months.
Keeping your mouth healthy is the first step to keeping your entire body healthy; but when you’re sick, make it a point to give your teeth and gums extra care. For more oral health tips like these, or to schedule a visit to our office, contact our endodontics office in Louisville, KY today.