Winter’s arrival announces the start of the cold and flu season. Are you ready for it? The colder months are pretty harsh for your lips, teeth and gums because around this time a plague of germs can put your dental health at risk. And as you already know good oral health is absolutely necessary to keep your body fighting fit.
Being bogged down with cold and flu can mess up your brushing and flossing routine but it is worthwhile to remember that you may actually need to give your teeth some extra attention when you are sick. Maintaining good oral health through the colder months can help keep your teeth and gums healthy and happy. Higley Park Dental has put together a few tips to help you beat the winter bugs:
Brush Your Teeth Regularly
If you are down with a cough and cold, try and avoid cough drops and cough syrups with sugar in them. Stick to sugar-free cough drops, and when you have to take cough syrup or a liquid medicine with sugar in it, rinse your mouth well or brush after taking your medicine.
A lot of us come down with stomach flu during the busy winter season that may cause vomiting. Make sure that you brush your teeth well after you throw up. Your teeth enamel gets coated with the stomach acid when you vomit and this acid wears down the enamel making it weak and often resulting in tooth sensitivity.
Replace Your Toothbrush
Right after recovering from a cold or flu, you should replace your toothbrush. There have been some studies that show that chances of re-infection are pretty slim but toothbrushes do grow and harbor bacteria so it is better to be safe than sorry! When you’ve been sick, get a new toothbrush or risk being re-infected every time you clean your teeth.
You should replace your toothbrush regularly anyway because an unclean toothbrush can hold bacteria and germs, which then gets into your mouth. You should ideally replace a toothbrush every four months, even if it does not appear worn out so that you can reduce the spread of germs.
Disinfect Your Toothbrush and Mouth Guard
Besides sanitizing your toothbrush, you should disinfect your bite guard and other oral supplies or tools you use for oral care. Over-the-counter bite guards can be replaced easily. Consider soaking bite guards or retainers that should last you for years in an antiseptic mouthwash. It is better not to use hot water on them, as it may cause the plastic to soften and become misshapen. Get help disinfecting retainers or bite guards with cold sterilization from your dentist’s office.
It is vital for your oral health to keep your body hydrated. So drink lots of water all through the day to stay hydrated and keep your nasal passages clear. When you feel dehydrated or congested, you are likely to get dry mouth due to reduction in saliva production. Patients with dry mouth are always at increased risk for developing cavities because saliva helps to wash away food debris and bacteria between brushings.
Rinse toothbrushes with tap water after brushing to remove toothpaste and debris after each use. Do not cover or place toothbrush in a closed cabinet. Instead always store it upright to air-dry and prevent the growth of more microorganisms
Do not share your toothbrush with another person or store your toothbrush next to another person’s toothbrush as it can lead to cross-contamination, which can spread illnesses.
Most importantly, when sneezing or coughing use a tissue to help prevent the spread of germs, and wash your hands often!
If you are sick on the day of your dental appointment, don’t hesitate to reschedule as it will help avoid exposing office staff and other patients to infection. And you are likely to recover faster by staying home and resting.
Dr Lonnie Eckman hopes everyone stays healthy and happy through the winter season and all year-round; but if you don’t, rest up and take good care of your smile! The trained staff at Higley Park Dental is here to assist you and your family with the best comprehensive dental care. Call us at 480.559.8098 to request an appointment. Connect with us on our Facebook page.