Tips for Caring for Your Teeth When You’re Under the Weather
Though it never feels good to be sick, it does feel good to know how you can best protect your teeth and mouth when you are.
In fact, one nice thing to do for yourself when you’re under the weather is to brush your teeth. It can help you to feel cleaner and fresher, dispelling a bit of the fog. It’s always top priority to take care of our bodies, but this becomes even more important when we’re sick. And that includes the teeth and gums. Here are a few more tips for caring for your mouth when you’re low, courtesy of The Bondi Dentists:
1. Good Hygiene is a Must!
It’s important to keep clean when we’re sick, to reduce the bacteria in or on the body, and to aid in the bodies efforts towards healing. The mouth is a heavy traffic area, especially when we’re sick. So it’s important to brush and rinse thoroughly and even more regularly than usual.
It’s not wise to share toothbrushes with other people, but you don’t really need to replace your toothbrush after fighting on an illness. You only need to consider this if the illness has been really nasty. However, most people hang on to their toothbrushes longer than they should! A good rule of thumb is to replace brushes when the bristles get frayed, or every 3 months, whichever comes first.
* ProTip 1 from The Bondi Dentists Team: Add a tongue scraper to your oral hygiene tools
These cheap devices help by cleaning up the bacteria that sits on top of our tongues. This will help reduce general bacterial load in the mouth as well as aid with any malodour issues.
2. Stay Hydrated!
Your body needs water to heal, to digest, and to remain vital. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day, to make sure that your body and immune system keep running strong. And, when you’re sick, you lose fluids even more quickly. Your mouth can become dry with certain illnesses, and this can lead to both discomfort and greater risk of cavities. You should have some water or tea handy to keep your mouth moist throughout the day. You can also suck on sugar free lozenges, candies or cough drops to keep saliva flowing.
* ProTip 2 from The Bondi Dentists Team: Choose the Right Fluids
Water is the best thing for your mouth and for your body. It won’t stain your teeth, it doesn’t leave a residue of sugar that can promote bacterial growth and contribute to plaque. In fact, it rinses and cleanses our teeth when we drink it.
If you need something other than water, sports drinks can help to replenish the electrolytes that are often lost during an illness. However, they also contain loads of sugar and hidden acids which contribute to tooth decay and tooth erosion. Tea is an excellent option, as it will offer a bit of warmth, comfort, and stimulation. Just remember to avoid sugar if possible, as it will promote the growth of bacteria, and to skip the lemon because it’s acidic. This is just as important when you are well as when you are sick.
3. Rinse Your Mouth if You Vomit
It’s never fun to vomit. In fact, it must be on the list of least fun things out there. It’s also very stressful on the teeth. Although you may be tempted to brush immediately afterwards, this is a bad idea. The teeth will have been exposed to the acids of the stomach, and brushing too soon could rub that acid all over the tooth. This can wear away the enamel very quickly.
Instead, swish and spit a few mouthfuls of water to rinse the residue from your mouth. You could also use a teaspoon of baking soda or a diluted mouthwash. Rinse well and then brush after about a half hour more.
ProTip 3 from The Bondi Dentists Team: Make the Cough Drops Sugar Free
Cough drops are great for soothing the throat and keeping the mouth moist when you’re sick. However, be sure to read the label before you buy. Many cough drops are loaded with sugar. For as long as they are in your mouth, they’re feeding the bacteria that create plaque and bad breath. Choose the sugar free option instead, and you’ll get all the benefits without the downsides.
If you have any questions or you’d like to schedule an appointment, feel free to contact us. Your teeth matter.