When you are feeling sick, it’s important not to forget about your dental health. Lots of things can take a toll on your teeth when you’re coping with cold and flu symptoms. Let’s talk about some ways to manage your symptoms safely and effectively and how to care for your teeth when you’re sick.
If you’re taking medications to lessen your symptoms, it’s important to check if the product contains sugar. Many cough syrups and medicated cough drops contain sugar, which can react with your saliva and leave behind a residue that may erode the enamel of your teeth and lead to cavities. There are many sugar-free options available which can be safer for your teeth, especially if you’re struggling to find the energy while you’re sick to regularly clean your teeth as well as you normally do.
When thinking about how to care for your teeth when you’re sick, natural doesn’t always mean safe. Some other remedies for cold and flu symptoms that can be beneficial for your health in other ways may still put your teeth at risk of cavities.
Honey and lemon in hot tea is a popular one, and can be very effective, but keep in mind that honey is mostly made up of sugar so can still contribute to tooth decay. Honey does take longer to break down than sugar made from sugar cane, but it can also stick to teeth longer than regular sugar so be sure to brush well afterwards.
Some natural or alternative remedies, however, can actually benefit your teeth while alleviating your symptoms. A salt water rinse is recommended for soothing sore throats as well as cleansing and promoting healing of the teeth and gums due to its natural antiseptic properties. To make a salt water rinse, simply combine ½ teaspoon salt with 1 cup of warm water.
Rinsing your mouth is extra important if you vomit so that the stomach acid doesn’t erode your tooth enamel. This can be a great cost-effective rinse to use especially if you’re feeling nauseated by the smells or flavors of other products.
Stay Well Hydrated
Another often overlooked remedy that may benefit your teeth as well is also one of the most simple: Staying well hydrated. When you’re sick, it’s necessary to stay hydrated to help flush out the virus or bacteria that is causing your illness and keep a fever down, but especially if you’re congested and breathing through your mouth, it’s also important to promote saliva flow and help protect the teeth from the risks associated with dry mouth. Make sure to choose fluids that don’t contain sugar or other ingredients that may damage or stain your teeth. Water and broths are excellent choices.
Dental Hygiene When You’re Sick
When you’re sick, everyday tasks seem to take extra effort so it can be tempting to simply take a break from practicing dental hygiene completely, but focusing your attention on learning how to care for your teeth when you’re sick can pay off in the long run by helping you to reduce discomfort and avoid cavities in the future.
Call our Maricopa Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.