Unfortunately, cold and flu season is upon us. Our staff at Hicks Dental Group wants you stay as healthy as possible this winter. But if you do get sick, here are some tips for keeping your mouth healthy during cold and flu season in Prescott!
Toothbrush Hygiene is Important
The flu virus can live on moist surfaces for 72 hours, according to the Center for Disease Control. So it is very important not to share your toothbrush with anyone. Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly after use and allow it to dry fully. The Cleveland Clinic does not recommend sterilizing your toothbrush. You should also replace your toothbrush after you’ve been sick, especially if it’s more than 3 months old.
Don’t Forget Your Oral Hygiene
Keeping up with your regular oral hygiene is crucial when you’re sick. It can be easy to forget to brush your teeth and floss when you’re not feeling well. But it is especially important, because studies have shown that pathogens in the mouth can actually lead to respiratory diseases. Make sure to wash your hands before and after you floss to prevent the spread of germs. Also, if throwing up is an unfortunate part of your sickness, be sure to rinse your mouth out with water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda after vomiting. Do this before brushing, because brushing too soon after vomiting will only spread corrosive acid over all of your teeth. You should wait 30 minutes to brush. Not only will these suggestions help your breath, but having a clean mouth will make you feel better!
Use Sugar-Free Medicine
When you’ve got a cough and need something to quiet it, be aware that many cough drops contain sugar, making them basically candy. Because they stay in your mouth for long periods of time, they coat the teeth with sugar and can lead to cavities. The sugar can also make phlegm in the throat worse. Read labels and be on the lookout for additives such as sugar, sugar alcohol, fructose, and corn syrup. If you do need a natural sweetener, Xylitol is actually beneficial for your teeth. Honey would also be a better option than sugar. And be sure to rinse your mouth out after you are finished with the cough drop.
Drinking plenty of fluids is important for healing from a cold or the flu. It will also prevent dry mouth, which can increase your risk for cavities. But not all fluids are a great choice. Water is always the best option. Tea is good as well, but avoid adding sugar and lemon juice. Sugar feeds bacteria that can lead to cavities and lemon is acidic and can wear away the enamel. Also, be sure to avoid sports drinks. These are often recommended when we are sick, but they contain a lot of sugar.
We understand that dental care during an illness may be the last thing from your mind. But it is just as important as any other self-care practices you have when you are sick. With these easy steps, you can continue keeping your mouth healthy during cold and flu season in Prescott. And be sure to keep up your regular appointments with us here at Hicks Dental Group!
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