Flu season and your oral health

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We are right in the middle of flu and cold season, which means many adults and children may be staying home for work or school. If you become sick this flu season, your teeth may be the last thing you think about when trying to get better– but it’s still important to take care of your teeth and gums!

You’re often told to stay hydrated and get plenty of fluids while you’re sick. It helps your body heal, but it also helps to prevent dry mouth. When we come down with the cold or flu, we may have a stuffy nose, which means mouth breathing, which can lead to dry mouth. A dry mouth creates an ideal environment for bacteria to flourish because we aren’t producing enough saliva. This could lead to cavities.

Coughing can be temporarily treated with cough drops. But be sure to purchase the sugar-free option if you choose to suck on one and remember to rinse your mouth with water afterwards. This will get those sugar bugs that cause cavities out of your mouth.

If you or your child have digestive problems while sick, it’s a good idea to brush your teeth about 30 seconds after vomiting. Stomach acids can be harmful to healthy teeth. By waiting about 30 seconds to brush, you are preventing additional damage to the enamel that has been exposed to stomach acid.

Sleep is very important when it comes to healing from a cold, flu, or other type of illness. You may be tempted to fall asleep without brushing or flossing – but don’t! It is important to keep up the healthy habit by flossing and brushing before you fall asleep.

Once you become better, don’t forget to replace your toothbrush! A clean and fresh toothbrush will prevent the further spread of diseases.