Like it or not, we are right in the middle of peak flu season. While you are sick, it is very tempting to stay in bed and dismiss your regular oral hygiene routine. But if you want to speed up the recovery process, proper oral hygiene is actually quite important. Here are some tried-and-true things to keep in mind:
- Many people drink lots of orange juice and soda pop (such as ginger ale) when they’re sick. Drinking these acidic beverages causes your teeth to lose their outer shell (Tooth Enamel). When this shell erodes, your teeth are more likely to get cavities and decay. You can lessen the effect of acidic drinks on your teeth by drinking them quickly and then either drinking or rinsing your mouth out with water when you’re done.
- If you are unfortunate enough to catch a stomach flu or virus that causes vomiting, be sure to clean your teeth well since stomach acid can erode the enamel.
- Remember that certain medications may affect the health of your mouth. Some medications can cause symptoms like dry mouth or affect your ability to taste. Cough drops and liquid medicines often contain sugar for flavour. If possible, take medicine with a meal to reduce the sugar build-up on your teeth or rinse or brush after use. The best choice is to select sugar-free options as available.
- Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth hydrated, and try to keep your nasal passages clear. While ill, having a stuffy nose often causes us to breathe through our mouths, which causes dry mouth and it will put you at an increased risk for cavities.
- Replace your toothbrush following the illness. Although some studies have shown that reinfection is unlikely, toothbrushes have been shown to grow and harbour bacteria easily. So better safe than sorry! If more than one toothbrush is stored in the same area, be sure they are separated to avoid spreading the virus to others.
- If necessary, over-the-counter biteguards can be replaced easily, but soaking biteguards or retainers in a strong antiseptic mouthwash is a good idea. do not use hot water on them, as that may cause the plastic to soften and lose its shape. If you are concerned, you can also contact your dentist’s office to ask about ways they can to disinfect retainers or biteguards with cold sterilization.
We hope you stay well this flu season (and all year-round of course!), but if you do get sick, take care of yourself, recover quickly, and remember to take care of your smile too! You’ll need it when you’re feeling better!
We at Family Care Dental Clinic offer our clients a wide range of comprehensive dental services for the whole family. Our dentists can help everyone in your family understand the importance of proper dental care over time and the positive effects it has on your health. At Family Care Dental Clinic, we provide a truly soothing environment where our clients can receive quality dental care no matter what their needs are. Call (604) 987-3545 or please visit our appointment page to schedule an appointment with a member of our excellent team.
Family Care Dental Clinic
Dentistry with Concern & Clinical Excellence