It’s February, which means we are in the heart of the cold and flu season. What will you do to keep your mouth safe this season? Here are some oral health care tips from when you’re feeling a little blue. 

Cold and Flu Season: Oral Health Tips

 

Clean After Vomiting

The first thing you’ll want to do after vomiting is run to your toothbrush, but don’t scrub your teeth just yet.

According to Dr. Romo (ADA), it’s better to wait a little before brushing. Dr. Romo says, “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.”

So, then what should you do?

Swish a diluted mouth rinse or a mixture of water and 1 tsp. baking soda to help wash the acid away. Wait 30 minutes before brushing. 

Toss Your Toothbrush 

There are three golden rules to live by when it comes to tossing toothbrushes. 

  1. Replace your toothbrush every three or four months
  2. When the bristles are frayed and show visible signs of wear
  3. When you are recovering from an illness

Why throw out a perfectly new toothbrush? It may still harbor bacteria that can reinfect you. It’s not worth risking your chances and getting sick yet again. If you’re able to, treat your mouth to a new toothbrush once you’re feeling a little better.

 

Stay Hydrated

Dry mouth is pretty common during cold and flu season, especially if you can’t breathe out of your stuffed up nose. Beyond being uncomfortable, dry mouth actually puts you at greater risk for catching cavity-causing bacteria. This is because saliva controls and stops this kind of harmful bacteria. When your mouth dries out, saliva production slows down and isn’t as effective in fighting off bacteria and protecting your oral health.

Additionally, be conscious of the medications you are taking. Select antihistamines, decongestants and pain relievers will also help dry out your mouth. Try sugar-free alternatives to regulate your saliva production and keep your mouth moist. 

 

Check-in With Your Dentist

What better time for a cleaning than when you really need one?

Sinus infections can cause tooth pain and dry mouth, which again, stimulates bacterial growth. If you’re due for the dentist, it’s not a bad idea to book an appointment once you’re feeling better. 

 

Keep Practicing Your Normal Routine

The cold and flu season is no time to neglect your oral routine. Since bacteria is attacking your health, your mouth and teeth need you more than ever!

Prevent further complications be keeping a clean, healthy mouth and practicing the same oral routine you would any other day.