January 25, 2019
When you feel sick, you take the day off from work, lie down and rest, and focus on caring for your body to restore your health. But while you’re trying to get better, remember your oral health as well. If you don’t, your mouth can become susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease while you’re feeling under the weather. But how do you take special care of your mouth while you’re sick? Check out these 4 tips for preventive care from your dentist in Fremont.
Good Oral Hygiene
You can maintain healthy dental habits whether in sickness or in health. These habits include the following:
- Brushing at least twice daily.
- Flossing at least once daily.
- Using a fluoride mouthwash daily.
When you’re sick, keep these specific instructions in mind:
- Don’t worry about replacing your toothbrush, except if it has been 3 or 4 months since you last replaced it. Unless your immune system has been severely compromised, you won’t become infected again.
- Although you shouldn’t share your toothbrush with someone else even when you feel 100 percent, especially avoid it when you’re sick.
Sugar-Free Cough Drops
Sucking on cough drops can soothe your sore throat, but unless you choose the sugar-free kind, it can damage your teeth. Cavity-causing bacteria thrive on sugar, and the longer the sugar is in your mouth, the longer the bacteria can feed on it and create the acids that attack your enamel. Try sugar-free cough drops instead to avoid tooth decay.
It’s important to stay hydrated, especially when you’re feeling sick or if you’re not producing enough saliva, a symptom called dry mouth. With less saliva, you won’t be able to help wash away harmful plaque and bacteria, raising the risk of cavities. Some decongestants, antihistamines, and pain relievers can cause dry mouth, so be extra diligent about drinking fluids if you experience this side effect.
So what beverages should you drink to help you feel better without harming your teeth? You have a few options. Although sports drinks contain electrolytes, they often contain a lot of sugar. If you have tea, try to avoid adding sugar or lemon. The bottom line, in reality, is that whether sick or healthy you should mainly drink water to protect your teeth.
If you have the stomach flu and vomit, it may be tempting to brush your teeth right away, but it is actually better to wait about 30 minutes before brushing to avoid spreading the stomach acids to all the surfaces of your teeth. Instead, swish water or diluted mouthwash and spit.
Although you stop and take time to rest while you’re sick, cavity-causing bacteria doesn’t. If you follow these tips, you can protect your teeth and keep your mouth healthy even when the rest of your body is not. For more information about preventive dental care, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Fremont.
About the Practice
Dr. James Block opened his practice in Fremont in 1990. He and his staff are committed not only to treating dental problems but to preventing them in the first place. Through educating patients and performing preventive dental procedures, they help patients’ smiles stay happy and healthy. You can contact them by calling (510) 793-0801 or clicking here.
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