- It’s important to maintain good oral hygiene even when you’re sick
- If you experience vomiting it is important that you wait to brush your teeth
- Use sugar-free cough drops to prevent unnecessary tooth damage
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza peaks between December and February. Often times, when we’re suffering from the flu, it’s easy to become preoccupied with painful symptoms and to overlook our mouths. However, it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene even when you’re sick.
The flu virus easily spreads through coughing, sneezing, or talking, in other words, whenever saliva-laced breath escapes us. Additionally, the virus can live on most surfaces, such as your toothbrush, for 72 hours. It’s advised that you never share a toothbrush and take steps to keep your toothbrush separate from other toothbrushes and cleaned.
One of the common symptoms of influenza is vomiting. If you experience vomiting, it is important that you wait to brush your teeth. It can be tempting to take toothpaste and a toothbrush to your teeth as soon as you stop vomiting, but this can cause a lot of damage. When you vomit, stomach acids come into your mouth and coat your teeth. If you brush your teeth immediately after vomiting, you are essentially rubbing these acids into the enamel of your teeth. After vomiting, rinse your mouth with water instead or use a diluted mouth wash or mixture of water and baking soda to clean your mouth.
If your flu symptoms include a sore throat or cough, it might be tempting to use cough drops. However, cough drops can contain a lot of sugar. Sucking on these sugary cough drops encourage cavity-causing bacteria to mix with the sugar and create an acid that destroys your teeth over time. It’s best to use sugar-free cough drops to prevent unnecessary tooth damage.
Even while you’re sick, it’s important to think about your teeth to avoid further issues in the future. For more information about caring for your oral health while you’re sick, speak with your dentist.