Tending to Your Oral Health When You're Sick

When you're feeling under the weather, you're probably just trying to make it through the day, which means your normal routines can be severely disrupted. That often means that your dental hygiene routine gets forgotten as your eating and sleeping schedule is unlikely to follow your typical pattern. In fact, being sick can sometimes cause more issues for your oral health because of additional medicines you may take temporarily or because of the changes in your nutrition. Here are some ways your dentist in North Pole, Alaska, recommends taking care of your oral health even when you're not feeling well.

 

Avoid Sugary Lozenges

If you're fighting a cough or sore throat, you're probably using numerous lozenges or cough drops to soothe your throat. However, many of these lozenges contain sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Make sure you find options that are sugar-free because allowing these sugars to remain in your mouth will give bacteria something to feed on, which will eventually lead to cavities. Many cough syrups contain sugar and corn syrup as well, so if you take these medications, be sure to brush afterward or at least chew sugar-free gum after taking the syrup.

 

Use Salt Water

Gargling salt water is a great way to soothe a sore throat, but it's also a great way to get rid of harmful bacteria and improve bad breath that often happens with illness. Simply mix a tablespoon of salt in one cup of warm water and gargle for about 30 seconds.

Woman drinking water 

Hydrate

Staying hydrated while you're ill is important for improving your overall health, but it's important for oral health as well because it can help fight off dry mouth. Dry mouth is a common problem when dealing with illnesses because you're often forced to breathe through your mouth. Dry mouth promotes bacteria growth, so to help avoid this problem, make sure you sip water frequently to help keep your mouth moist.

 

Wait to Brush

If you're dealing with a stomach bug and vomiting frequently, dentists recommend that you wait to brush after vomiting. Although it's tempting to brush your teeth to freshen up your mouth, it can be harmful to your teeth if you brush right after vomiting. Brushing could rub the acid from vomit deeper into your teeth and speed up enamel erosion. The best thing to do is to rinse your mouth out with water right after vomiting. You can add a teaspoon of baking soda to help further rid your mouth of the acid, but it's best to wait for at least a half-hour to brush after vomiting and rinsing your mouth.

 

Make Brushing and Flossing Easier

When a virus or other illness has you drained of energy, one of the last things you'll want to do is get out of bed to brush and floss your teeth. To make it easier to make sure you still get your teeth brushed twice a day and flossed once, you may want to place your toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and some glasses of water next to your bed. Although this might not be the ideal way to brush and floss regularly, having the supplies close at hand will make it more likely that you'll take care of your teeth even if you don't get out of bed.

 

Be sure to see your dentist twice a year for a checkup and call an emergency dentist in Fairbanks if you have persistent pain or other concerns with your oral health. To schedule your appointment, contact North Pole Dental Workshop today.