How to Care for Your Mouth During the Flu and Cold Season
Winter is approaching – which means flu and cold season is here. Did you know that if you maintain good oral health you can reduce the chance of getting a cold or the flu? But, if you do get the flu, it is crucial that you maintain good oral health to help you recover. Here are some easy ways to maintain good oral health when you aren’t feeling well:
• Maintain Good Hygiene – According to the U.S. Center for Communicable Disease, the flu virus can live for 72 hours on moist surfaces. You shouldn’t share toothbrushes anyway, but definitely not when you are sick. You probably don’t need to replace your toothbrush when you are well again, but if you have any doubt, replace it anyway – especially if it is 3 or 4 months old. Continue to maintain your regular brushing – even if you don’t feel well. Besides keeping you healthier, having clean teeth may help you feel better.
• Use Sugar-Free Cough Drops – Using a cough drop that contains sugar is like sucking on candy. The more time you keep a sugary cough drop in your mouth, the more time bacteria can use the sugar to produce cavity-causing acid.
• Don’t Brush Immediately After Vomiting – Unfortunately, those with the flu often have vomiting as a side effect. When you vomit, stomach acids coat your teeth. If you brush too soon, you spread the acid all over the outer shell of your teeth. Instead, rinse with water or a diluted mouth wash and brush about 30 minutes later.
• Stay Hydrated – You need plenty of fluids when you have the flu or a cold. Plenty of fluids are also beneficial for preventing dry mouth, which can be uncomfortable and be a cause for increased cavities. Your medications can dry out your mouth, so be sure to drink plenty of water, and suck on sugarless cough drops, or sugarless candies, to keep the saliva flowing.
Hopefully, you can avoid the flu or colds this season. For the unlucky, mind these oral health tips.