When you get sick during the colder months, you want to take care of yourself. You likely try to practice healthy habits for our bodies, but do you pay attention to your teeth when you’re sick? These dental health tips can help promote a healthy mouth even when you feel under the weather.
Addressing Dry Mouth When You’re Sick
Saliva acts as your mouth’s dental hygienist. It washes away food and debris and neutralizes acids that promote tooth decay. Getting sick can reduce the amount of saliva in your mouth, making you more susceptible to cavities. You can get sickness-related dry mouth for two reasons. First, antihistamines, painkillers and other types of cold medicine can reduce saliva production. Second, when you have sinus congestion, you tend to breathe through your mouth instead of your nose. The airflow can dry up your saliva.
When a cold or flu dries out your mouth, you have multiple solutions to try. Drinking plenty of fluids keeps you hydrated and encourages saliva flow. The sugar substitutes in sugar-free cough drops also fight dryness. A diet low in caffeine and alcohol further reduces your risk of dry mouth. You can also use one of the dry mouth rinses on the market. Biotene makes a nice line of products specifically for dry mouth.
What to Do When Your Teeth Hurt During Sickness
Do your teeth hurt when you get sick? The toothache may come from a sinus infection or inflammation. These conditions often cause the upper teeth to feel tender and painful, but they don’t cause long-term harm to your mouth. Whether you should get a consultation from Dr. Forgosh depends on your symptoms’ length and severity. He can help if you have a persistent or especially painful toothache. If he doesn’t find a dental cause for your symptoms, you can then visit your doctor. An over the counter saline spray is often helpful to reduce sinus pressure.
How to Care for Your Teeth When You’re Sick
Taking care of your teeth during a cold or flu involves similar steps to dental care when you’re healthy. To keep your smile in top shape when you get sick, remember to:
- Avoid sugary cough drops: Standard cough drops expose your teeth to sugar for an extended time. As you suck on one, the bacteria in your mouth turn the sugar into acid that decays your teeth. Meanwhile, sugar-free cough drops may contain sugar alcohols that ward off mouth bacteria.
- Rinse your mouth after vomiting: You may feel tempted to brush your teeth after vomiting. However, the exposure to stomach acids weakens your enamel enough that immediately brushing can actually erode your teeth quicker. Rinse your mouth with water instead and wait at least 30 minutes to brush.
- Practice good hygiene: Covering your mouth and washing your hands helps you eliminate germs. Try adding oral care to the hygiene you already practice when you’re sick. Keeping your mouth clean reduces bad breath, and not sharing your toothbrush keeps others flu-free.
- Change your toothbrush: Your toothbrush harbors the bacteria and viruses that make you sick. Disinfect your toothbrush while you are sick, then get a new one so you don’t get re-infected.
Get Individualized Dental Care From Dr. Forgosh
Dr. Forgosh and his team at Green Hills Family & Cosmetic Dentistry provide expert dental services in a caring environment. They want to help you achieve your oral health goals and dedicate themselves to excellence. For dentistry services in Allentown, PA, schedule an appointment online today.