Smith & Jackson hopes you’re surviving cold and flu season, but if you’re not, here are some simple ways to care for your dental health when you’re not feeling well:
Practice Good Hygiene
According to the CDC, the flu virus can live on moist surfaces for 72 hours. You shouldn’t be sharing your toothbrush in normal circumstances but especially when you are sick. We highly recommend replacing your toothbrush after you’ve been sick even though the chances of reinfecting yourself are very low. Your toothbrush should be replaced every 3-4 months even when you are not sick.
Swish and Spit After Vomiting
One unfortunate side effect of a stomach flu, among other illnesses, is vomiting. You might be tempted to brush your teeth right away, but it is better to wait. When you vomit, stomach acids are coming in contact with your teeth and coating them, if you brush too soon, you’re just rubbing that acid all over the hard outer shell of your teeth.
Instead, swish with water, a diluted mouth rinse or a mixture of water and 1 tsp. baking soda to help wash the acid away. Spit, and brush about 30 minutes later.
Stay Hydrated to Avoid Dry Mouth
When you’re sick, you need plenty of fluids for many reasons. One is to prevent dry mouth. Not only is it uncomfortable—dry mouth can also put you at greater risk for cavities. The medications you might be taking for a cold or flu—such as antihistamines, decongestants or pain relievers—can also dry out your mouth, so drink plenty of water and suck on cough drops, or throat lozenges to keep saliva flowing.