When you have a cold or the flu, it is important to get rest, eat well, and take care of yourself. However, far too many people neglect their dental care when they are sick. This may be due to lack of energy or the queasy feeling that makes putting anything in the mouth a challenge, but oral care when you are sick is even more important than normal dental care! Here are some simple things you can do to care for your teeth while you are taking care of yourself and ensure you get good dental care during an illness.
When you’re sick, there is often no doubt that you are because your body tells you in many ways. Your mouth feels yucky, your throat may be coated, you feel yucky overall, and you may notice a change in your breath as well. These are ways your mouth tells you something is off. This is why oral care when you are sick is important – if nothing else it makes you feel better to have a clean mouth. For the best dental care during an illness, try to follow your normal brushing and flossing routine as much as possible to protect your teeth and gums!
Use Sugar-Free Medicine
Read the labels on your cough drops, medication, and any lozenges you get before you buy them. Read the ingredients and look for additives like fructose, sugar, sugar alcohol, or corn syrup. It makes the medicine taste better but the sugar will coat the teeth and can cause more problems down the road. It can also make thick phlegm in the throat worse too. Look for sugar-free and all-natural options and if you do use something with a sweetener try to use something with honey and be sure to rinse your mouth after using the medicine or finishing the cough drop. This is a simple thing that can make oral care when you are sick easier to keep up with and helps you get better faster too.
Unpleasantries in the Mouth
One unfortunate thing that comes with many illnesses such as the cold or the flu is vomiting. Many people naturally brush their teeth right after puking but this should not be the first thing you do. After visiting the porcelain god, it is best to rinse your mouth a few times to remove the corrosive acid from your mouth. This way you are not just spreading it around to other areas of the mouth by brushing. A good mild rinse to use is 2 cups of warm water with a spoon of baking soda dissolved in. rinse with the full 2 cups and you can even gargle with it if you like. Then brush your teeth about 15-30 minutes later.
Stay Well Hydrated
During an illness, you need to stay hydrated for many reasons- the most important being so your body can work to flush the pathogens out that are making you sick. But staying hydrated also helps you avoid dry mouth and the dental problems it can cause. You also need to stay hydrated to head off complications from your treatment. Many medications like antihistamines, decongestants, and pain relievers have the side effect of causing dry mouth so you want to increase fluid intake to combat that as well. Keeping well hydrated is one of the important things you can to ensure you maintain good oral care when you are sick.
Although dental care during an illness may be the farthest thing from your mind, it is just as important as any other self-care practices you have when you are sick. With these easy steps in mind, you can help protect your teeth and gums and keep your entire mouth happy and healthy while you recover. If you want more tips on oral care when you are sick or have questions about dental care during an illness or good dental practices in general, call or come by and see us today! We would love to help you!