The dreaded cold and flu season is upon us and I certainly hope you don’t have a brush with the lurgy this winter. From all reports, it’s a particularly nasty one!
But if you do get sick, or a family member, you may not have given much thought to teeth and mouth care during a bout of illness. There are a few simple steps you can take to protect your smile when you’re under the weather.
We all know that it’s no fun being sick. Arrrrrgh!
Feeling exhausted makes it really difficult to muster the energy for everyday tasks – but you should always try to make an effort to stick to your dental routine.
Even if you spend all day tucked up in bed under the doona, be sure to brush your teeth morning and night. And if you can manage it, floss too.
Keeping your teeth clean may seem like such a little thing, but apart from helping with oral hygiene it can really help you feel a little bit refreshed when you’re putting up with a cold.
No matter how ready you are to flop into bed, make sure you brush your teeth and tongue. And if you have some mouthwash handy, have a quick rinse. A clean mouth and fresh breath WILL make you feel a little brighter.
We know about covering our mouth and washing our hands when we’re sick, but germ control extends to your dental hygiene too.
Your toothbrush bristles are the flu virus’s ideal home – it can survive up to 72 hours on moist surfaces!
Don’t be too alarmed! The main thing you need to do is keep your toothbrush isolated from other toothbrushes in your household and, for good measure, replace your toothbrush with a new one once you have recovered.
If vomiting is one of your symptoms, your dental hygiene needs will change. It can be very tempting to brush your teeth straight after vomiting to get the taste out of your mouth, but this is actually not ideal.
Brushing immediately after vomiting can rub harmful stomach acids into your teeth and cause damage to the enamel.
Instead, rinse your mouth out with water, or a diluted mouthwash or, best of all a solution of baking soda, which is alkaline and will neutralise the acid.
Wait about half an hour after vomiting to brush your teeth.
Dehydration brought on by illness can lead to a very dry mouth.
Apart from being uncomfortable, dry mouth can increase tooth decay as there is no saliva controlling harmful bacteria.
Make sure you drink plenty of water and other sugar-free drinks. Keeping hydrated not only prevents dry mouth but also helps your body fight the infection.
Tempting as it may be to suck on a lozenge to ease your throat, a lot of lozenges are no better than lollies.
Butter Menthols, Eucalyptus Balls and others like them are chock full of sugar. Be sure to read the label when choosing throat lozenges and select a sugar-free option. If in doubt, ask a pharmacist for a recommendation.
Soup and hot drinks are a traditional part of any cold and flu remedy routine, but you need to be mindful of what you’re consuming.
Hot drinks loaded with acidic lemon juice and honey for instance may calm your sore throat but they’re doing your teeth no favours. Opt for a herbal tea instead, something like lemongrass and ginger which is naturally soothing but has no added sugar.
When you’ve got that stuffy-headed feeling it can be hard to make the right decisions for your health.
If you’re stocked up with the right gear and prepared ahead of time you’ll be much more likely to do the right things if you get sick.
To prepare yourself for cold and flu season be sure to:·
✔️ Stock up on sugar-free lozenges, cough syrups and other medicines
· ✔️Keep a store of spare toothbrushes in the cupboard
· ✔️Have a selection of herbal teas on hand
· ✔️ Keep a small amount of baking soda in your bathroom cabinet
· ✔️Keep toothbrushes isolated from each other at all times.
There you go !
Most importantly, you are now armed with few handy tips to get your mouth through the ‘arrrgh’ of a cold or flu. Fingers crossed you won’t actually need it!
f you need any advice to assistance when it comes to the health of your teeth, mouth and gums, call Taree Dental Care!
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