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oral health when sick

Tips for Maintaining Oral Health While Home Sick

The current COVID-19 crisis is on everyone’s minds these days, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about oral health. In fact, even though flu-like bugs sap one’s energy and make it difficult to carry out routine daily activities, oral health care maintenance is a daily routine you should not neglect when feeling sick.

If you are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, stay at home, get plenty of rest, and take care of yourself, but also keep the following tips in mind to help maintain your oral health during times of sickness.  

Brush and Floss Your Teeth

And yes, you’ve certainly heard this before, but it needs to be stated again here because being sick provides such a convenient excuse for letting daily routines slide. Oral health care, though, is a routine that you should not let slide. While skipping a brushing and flossing session or two may not seem like it would be a big deal, it does allow for the growth of cavity and gum-disease-inducing bacteria that would otherwise likely be brushed and flossed away.

Bottom line, why let one ailment serve as a conduit to promote a different ailment? Besides, that fresh mouth feeling you’ll get from brushing and flossing may even help you feel a bit better overall, even if only temporarily.    

Keep Hydrated

Everyone knows that drinking plenty of fluids is one of the keys to fighting the flu or a cold, but hydration is also a key element of oral health. Saliva is one of your body’s key natural defenses against cavity-inducing bacteria and plaque buildup, with a dry mouth indicating a suspension of this benefit. While the illness itself can cause dehydration, many cold medications also inhibit saliva production and lead to dry mouth.

Water is the best option for keeping hydrated and helps wash away any acid buildup that may be occurring in your mouth. And if you do drink a fruit juice for its Vitamin C benefits, or perhaps a ginger ale-type drink for its stomach-settling properties, make sure you follow it with a swish of water to wash away any left-over sugars in your mouth. Lastly, keep in mind that saline nasal sprays can help alleviate dry mouth caused by nasal congestion.

Go Sugar-Free

Whenever possible opt for sugar-free cough drops and cold medicines, as the fructose and corn syrup found in regular cough drops and cold serums act as fuel for cavity and gum disease-causing bacteria. If you do use medications containing fructose and/or corn syrup, try to remember to rinse with water and know that using them makes your daily brushing and flossing even more important.  

Don’t Let Side Effects Impact Your Oral Health

Some cold and flu-like conditions can lead to stomach upset causing vomiting and/or acid reflux, both of which can release intensive amounts of corrosive stomach acids into your mouth. To protect your teeth’s enamel, make sure you rinse your mouth out as soon as you feel well enough. For the best protection against potential enamel corrosion, mix some baking soda with water, which will help neutralize the stomach acids. Additionally, resist the urge to brush your teeth right after vomiting, as the tooth enamel may have softened due to the effects of the acids. Rinse first and wait at least 30 minutes before following up with brushing and flossing.

For More Oral Health Tips Turn to Island Tower Dentistry!

If you want to learn more tips to help you maintain the best in oral health, the dental-care experts at Island Tower Dentistry would be glad to share their knowledge with you in person, and/or otherwise tend to your dental care needs. To learn more about how the Island Tower team works to deliver optimal oral health for its patients in the Southwest Florida region, contact us today at 239-394-1004 to make an appointment!

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  • 606 Bald Eagle Dr. Ste 200, Marco Island, Florida 34145
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  • Closed Fridays | Call our office for emergencies

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