5 Ways to Care for Your Mouth When You’re Sick

April 23, 2020

5 Ways to Care for Your Mouth When You’re SickWhether amid a global pandemic like COVID-19, getting the seasonal flu, or anything in between, contracting one of these viruses will put your life on hold in an instant. These viruses are more than just a mild cold. These conditions can leave you feeling exhausted, worn out, and just plain devastated for up to a week or longer. When you're feeling this way, taking care of your body is the top priority.  However, many times people don’t realize that your oral health plays a significant role in your recovery as well.

We’ve put together five simple and easy ways to care for your oral health during these challenging times that will also help you feel better and assist you on the road to wellness.

Stay Hydrated to Avoid Dry Mouth
When you’re sick, you may already know that you need plenty of fluids to keep hydrated and flush out the virus.   A less common (but crucial reason) function of hydration is to prevent dry mouth. Not only is dry mouth uncomfortable, but this condition can also put you at higher risk for cavities. Saliva is the mouth’s defense against tooth decay, offering first-line protection against microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease or cavities. So, it is important to make drinking fluids a top priority.

Choose the Right Fluids
When it comes to staying hydrated, plain filtered water is always considered the best beverage option. While sports drinks might replenish electrolytes, we recommend drinking them in moderation as they usually contain a large quantity of sugar. Instead, it is a good idea to try adding lemon, lime, or fruit to your water.

If you prefer something warm to drink, teas are a terrific option. However, try not to add sugar as it helps fuel cavity-causing bacteria. If you desire some sweetness, try to add in a little honey.

Swish and Spit After Vomiting
One symptom you may experience with your sickness is vomiting. After you vomit, it is typical to feel the need to brush your teeth right away. However, contrary to what you might think, it is better to wait. If you brush right away, you’ll be spreading stomach acid over all your teeth!

Instead, try to swish with water first to help wash away the acid. Then, it is ideal to wait 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.  

Choose Sugar-Free Cough Drops
If you need some relief from coughing, cough drops can undoubtedly help.  However, it is important to thoroughly read the ingredients label before you buy just anything. It is a good idea to examine the amount of sugar in each cough drop. Unfortunately, many cough drops are more like candy.  The longer you keep a sugary cough drop in your mouth, the more time cavity-causing bacteria has to indulge in the sugar.

Brush & Floss, then Disinfect
We understand that having to brush and floss your teeth can be hard enough when you’re feeling good. When you are sick, brushing and flossing play an important role in a quicker recovery to good health. These 2 activities help remove the cold and flu germs that may be resting on your tongue and on or between your teeth. So no matter how tired and achy you may feel, It is important to make sure you don’t sacrifice your daily dental hygiene routine.

Once you are starting to feel like yourself again, we highly suggest you disinfect your toothbrush bristles. Here are just a few ways to do that:

  • Swirl the bristles in antibacterial mouthwash for 30 seconds.
  • Dissolve 2 teaspoons of baking soda in a cup of water and soak the toothbrush in the solution.
  • Dilute 1 teaspoon of 3 percent strength hydrogen peroxide in 1 cup of water and swish the toothbrush bristles in the solution before brushing.
  • Soak the bristles in vinegar overnight once per week.

Being sick is never a fun process. Illnesses are even more challenging when you catch something bigger than the flu, like COVID-19. Please be aware that our dental team is here to assist during these trying times. Give us a call and we'll do our best to get back to you right away!

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