As the weather starts to grow cold, the cold and flu season emerges. With that comes the need for extra vigilance to protect our health. While it’s crucial to take measures to avoid getting sick, it’s equally important to recognize that this season can impact the health of your smile. That’s why we wanted to review ways you can protect your oral health while still keeping your overall health strong.
- Keep Up With Your Regular Oral Hygiene Habits
To protect your teeth and gums this time of year, it’s essential to maintain a regular oral hygiene routine. That means brushing your teeth for two minutes at a time and flossing at least once. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride-based toothpaste for the optimal cleaning experience.
- Stay Hydrated
The flu can lead to dehydration due to fever, sweating, and vomiting. However, adequate hydration is essential for maintaining saliva production. It plays a pivotal role in neutralizing acids, combating bacteria, and preventing tooth decay. Avoid sweetened drinks, and drink plenty of water instead. If you drink electrolyte drinks or tea, opt for ones that don’t have any added sugar.
- Rinse After Taking Medications
Cold and flu medications, especially syrups and cough drops, can be acidic and contain added sugars. These components can weaken tooth enamel and increase the likelihood of cavities. After taking your medication, rinse your mouth with water to neutralize acidity and eliminate any sugary residue.
- Careful With Acidic Beverages
Many individuals drink acidic beverages like orange juice, sports drinks, or soda when they’re under the weather. However, these types of drinks can do damage to your tooth enamel. If you choose to consume them, do so in moderation. You should also consider using a straw to minimize the fluid’s contact with your teeth. Afterward, rinse your mouth with water to mitigate the acid’s effects.
- Replace Your Toothbrush After Illness
Once you’ve started feeling better, make it a point to replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head. Bacteria and germs can remain on the bristles, potentially leading to reinfection or further health issues. A fresh toothbrush ensures that you’re not reintroducing harmful bacteria into your mouth.