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5 Ways to Care for Your Mouth While You Are Sick

Posted on January 29th, 2021 by Dr. Nikoo Daftary

  • Stay Hydrated – Avoid Dry Mouth
  • Choose the Right Fluids
  • Practice Good Oral Hygiene
  • Choose Sugar-Free Cough Drops
  • Rinse and Spit After Vomiting

When you are suffering with the symptoms of a cold, flu, or stomach virus, taking care of your body should be your top priority – and that includes your teeth and gums. Our South Loop Chicago, IL dentist wants to remind you it is always important to prioritize your oral hygiene routine – but especially while you are sick. In addition to protecting your oral health, brushing your teeth and rinsing your mouth when you are under the weather may even make you feel better.

Here are some specific ways you can care for your teeth and gums when you are not feeling well:

Stay Hydrated – Avoid Dry Mouth

Every physician will tell you that when you are sick, you should be taking in plenty of fluids for various reasons. Not only does your body require fluids to flush out the infection, but also to prevent dry mouth. Dry mouth is not only uncomfortable, but it puts you at greater risk of cavities.

Additionally, cold and flu medications like decongestants, antihistamines, and pain relievers will cause your mouth to be drier. So drink lots of water, suck on sugarless throat lozenges, cough drops, or candies to keep your salivary glands working.

Choose the Right Fluids

When it comes to the best fluid to consume when you are sick, you will never go wrong by drinking water. Your doctor may recommend that you consume sports drinks to help replenish electrolytes you are losing due to vomiting or diarrhea. Nevertheless, drink them in moderation, and do not make a habit of drinking them once you have recovered because most sports drinks contain a lot of sugar.

If you prefer to consume something warm, which many of us do when we are sick, choose broth or tea without added sugar or lemon, as sugar fuels cavity-causing bacteria and lemon is acidic. Keep this in mind once you feel better, too. If you choose to add sugar or lemon, make sure to rinse your mouth afterward.

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

When you are sick, you already know it is important to cover your mouth when you sneeze and cough. It is equally important to keep up your oral hygiene routine as well. Make sure you brush and floss regularly and rinse your mouth with mouthwash – as a plus, rinsing can help you fight off whatever virus is making you sick.

You have also probably heard that you should never be sharing your toothbrush with anyone, but this is especially important when you are sick. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that the flu virus lives on moist surfaces for up to 72 hours. Nevertheless, you probably do not need to replace your toothbrush unless you are immune compromised.

Choose Sugar-Free Cough Drops

Because most cough drops contain a lot of sugar, it is a good idea to choose carefully. Sugar causes decay leading to cavities, and the longer you suck on sugary cough drops, the longer cavity-causing bacteria will sit on your teeth producing the acid that leads to decay. When you are sick, you are likely to dose off with these in your mouth, so it is important to choose cough drops and lozenges that are sugar-free.

Swish and Spit After Vomiting

If you are suffering from a stomach virus, one unfortunate symptom is vomiting. While you might be tempted to brush your teeth immediately after vomiting, it is better to wait. Because stomach acids are coming in contact with your teeth when you vomit, if you brush your teeth right away, you are spreading that acid all over the enamel of your teeth.

It is much better to rinse your mouth with water or a diluted mouthwash – as this will help to wash the acid away. The best method is to rinse, spit, rinse again if you desire, spit, and brush about 30 minutes later.

Visit Our Team of Dentists in the South Loop – Chicago, IL

Once you fully recover, make sure to schedule your regular six-month checkup and professional teeth cleaning – as this is just as important as maintaining your daily oral hygiene routine. Call and book an appointment at the Art of Modern Dentistry today.

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