This seasons Cold and Flu epidemic has been featured more recently on local and National news. Here are some simple steps you can take to help yourself avoid colds and the flu this season.
- Wash your hands before and after brushing
- Allow the brush to air dry after each use, harmful bacteria dies after being exposed to oxygen
- Store the toothbrush in an upright position to allow water to drain and dry faster
- Replace toothbrush after every cold or flu or every 3-4 months when bristles appear worn
To promote a healthy and clean environment, our team gives a great deal of attention to sanitation and sterilization in our office at all times, as well as following all requirements for sterilizing instruments and work surfaces.
For the protection of other patients and our staff, we always ask that patients reschedule their appointments if they have any type of cold or illness that can infect others. We hope this helps and give us a call if you have any questions!
But if you do catch a cold or the flu, here are some suggestions on how to care for your dental health.
If you have a cold or the flu, taking care of your body is your top priority—and that includes your mouth.
Here are some simple ways to care for your dental health when you’re not feeling well:
Practice Good Hygiene
When you’re sick, you know to cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze. Don’t forget to keep up your dental and toothbrush hygiene as well.
According to the CDC, the flu virus can live on moist surfaces for 72 hours. Do not share your tooth brush!
Choose Sugar-Free Cough Drops
Read the label before you pick up a bag at the drug store with an eye to avoid ingredients like fructose or corn syrup. The longer you keep a sugary cough drop in your mouth, the more time cavity-causing bacteria has to feast on that sugar, which produces the acid that can leave holes in your teeth.
Swish and Spit After Vomiting
One unfortunate side effect of a stomach flu, among other illnesses, is vomiting. You might be tempted to brush your teeth right away, some dentists say it’s actually better to wait. When you vomit, stomach acids are coming in contact with your teeth and coating them. If you brush too soon, you’re just rubbing that acid all over the hard outer shell of your teeth.
Instead, swish with water, a diluted mouth rinse or a mixture of water and 1 tsp. baking soda to help wash the acid away. Spit, and brush about 30 minutes later.
Stay Hydrated to Avoid Dry Mouth
When you’re sick, you need plenty of fluids for many reasons. One is to prevent dry mouth. Not only is it uncomfortable—dry mouth can also put you at greater risk for cavities. The medications you might be taking for a cold or flu—such as antihistamines, decongestants or pain relievers—can also dry out your mouth, so drink plenty of water and suck on sugarless cough drops, throat lozenges or candies to keep that saliva flowing.
Choose the Right Fluids
When it comes to your mouth and your body, one beverage is always best. Water! Sometimes sports drinks might be recommended to replenish electrolytes when you’re sick, but drink them in moderation and don’t make them a habit after you’ve recovered because unless they are a sugar free version, they contain a lot of sugar.
You might also want something to warm you up. Try a hot tea, but avoid sugar or lemon if you can.
For more tips on good oral care: check out the ADA American Dental Society Mouth Healthy website.