By Tim Fitzgerald on Sep 24, 2020 @ 12:25 PM
When you think about flu season, your oral health might not be the first thing to come to mind. But it should be! The flu spreads primarily through respiratory droplets in your saliva and mucus, so taking care of your mouth is one of the best ways to prevent the spread. This means not touching your mouth or face, wearing a mask if you’re sick, and keeping your mouth clean – these steps are imperative during flu season!
But your oral health isn’t just part of flu prevention. It is also heavily impacted if you do get the virus. Symptoms like dry mouth and vomiting are common when you are sick – and these both can lead to tooth decay if you don’t keep up with your oral hygiene routine. Here are 5 quick tips to keep your mouth healthy during flu season:
Tip 1: Brush and Floss
Make sure to maintain your brushing and flossing routine when you are sick. It can be easy to miss a session of brushing when you don’t feel well, but keeping up your routine is the best way to keep bacteria from building up in your mouth. Consider adding an extra brushing or flossing session into your day if your mouth is feeling especially gross!
Tip 2: Swish, Rinse, and Gargle with Salt Water
This was my mom’s solution for everything when I was a kid – and for good reason. Salt is a natural antimicrobial, meaning it inhibits the production and reproduction of bacteria (which is why we use it to cure and preserve foods).This makes a saltwater rinse a great way to reduce inflammation and bacteria buildup in your mouth. Just mix about half a tablespoon of salt into warm water, stir to dissolve, and then swish, rinse, and gargle!
Tip 3: Hydrate with Water
When you’re sick you might crave sugary drinks like Gatorade or sodas – but don’t forget about water. If you drink a sugary drink, make sure to follow it by drinking water to keep the sugar from building up on your teeth. A good rule of thumb is to drink two glasses of water for every sugary drink – this way you keep hydrated and keep your mouth sugar free!
Tip 4: Use Sugar Free Cough Drops
For a lot of people, cough drops are a must when you’re sick. But did you know they can be harmful to your teeth? Some cough drops contain a lot of sugar, so sucking on them is the equivalent to sucking on candy all day long. Sugary cough drops can easily lead to tooth decay if you aren’t careful! So if you are a cough drop user, make sure to find sugar-free cough drops. Sugar free cough drops are also great if you are diabetic, since they won’t affect your blood sugar levels!
Tip 5: Replace Your Toothbrush
Finally, when you’re feeling better, make sure to replace your toothbrush immediately. After you’re flu free, the last thing you want is to expose yourself to old germs that might be lingering on your toothbrush. So ditch it and get a new one! If you use an electric toothbrush, just replacing the brush head should be fine.
Flu season is always a bit unnerving, especially with COVID-19 out and about this year. But being mindful of your oral health is a great tool for flu prevention and limiting the effects of the flu if you do get it. Also make sure you keep up with your regularly scheduled cleanings this flu season to keep your oral health in top shape. Before you make your appointment, make sure you have dental insurance that works for you – click our link below for a FREE consultation with a Solstice team member today!