It’s cold and flu season. And when you’re laid up in bed with a fever, cough, sniffle, or whatever is ailing you, the last thing you think about is your teeth. Unfortunately, a few days off from at-home oral health care can be the tipping point for dental problems. Try to motivate yourself to get up and visit the sink to tend to your teeth as best as you possibly can. Your mouth will thank you.
Why Sickness Creates Oral Health Problems
Being sick is difficult enough but having to worry about the oral health side effects from sickness too just isn’t fair. Here are just some of the elements of sickness that can damage your teeth:
- Dry mouth: Fluids are important in times of sickness, but if you’re nauseous or weak, you may avoid even water. Try to force yourself to have some liquids (water, not sugary juices or sports drinks). A dehydrated body leads to a dry mouth. When there isn’t enough saliva moving around your teeth, it creates an environment for tooth decay.
- Coughing and sore throat: Your throat may be in agony, but relying on cough drops all day long to combat the problem is a recipe for cavities. You’re bathing your teeth in the sugars of what are essentially hard candy. Whether cough drops help your cough and sore throat or not, use sparingly. And if you can’t do without, look for drops made with the sugar substitute xylitol (found in sugar-free gum).
- Nasal congestion: When your sinuses are draining, it can make your teeth hurt. While you may chalk this up to an upper respiratory infection, toothaches can mean, well, a toothache. Once your nasal passages have cleared up and if you’re still experiencing discomfort, see your Johns Creek dentist about your pain.
- Vomiting: When you’re throwing up, you may gag just thinking about putting a toothbrush in your mouth. Fair enough. Try to remember though that excessive vomiting can lead to enamel erosion. Brushing will protect your teeth and wash away that gross taste in your mouth.
Take Care of Your Teeth When You’re Sick
Whether you’re eating much or not when you’re sick, if you haven’t been brushing and flossing religiously, you’ll run your tongue over your teeth and feel the gunk that has built up. Eventually, you’ll get back to normal and your regular oral health routine. In the meantime, gargling with salt water can help reduce harmful bacteria in your mouth and help your sore throat. If you can’t do anything else, at least rinse your mouth with water.
Believe it or not, you’ll feel a little better when your mouth is clean. You may not have showered for days or changed your clothes, but if you brush your teeth at least your mouth won’t feel yucky.
And, remember to get a new toothbrush when you start to feel better!
At Family & Cosmetic Dental Care, we serve the areas of Johns Creek, Duluth, Alpharetta, Suwanee, and the surrounding areas. If you suspect an oral health problem, schedule your appointment today. We want to help you stay healthy.