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5 Ways to Protect Your Teeth During Illness

added on: December 14, 2023

As winter settles in, bringing with it the usual array of sniffles, coughs, and fevers, it’s crucial to be mindful of your oral health amidst the seasonal health challenges. From December through February, the cold and flu season peaks, and even though your primary concern may be to recover quickly, it’s equally important to safeguard your teeth during illness. Your Madison dentist emphasizes the significance of maintaining oral hygiene, even when under the weather.

  • Prioritize Dental Care

Don’t let illness become an excuse to neglect your oral hygiene. If anything, it’s even more critical to brush and floss daily when you’re not feeling well. Regular brushing helps prevent harmful bacteria from lingering in the mouth, warding off potential dental issues like decay.

  • Soothe Discomfort with Salt Water

The age-old remedy of gargling with warm salt water remains effective in alleviating a sore throat or discomfort during swallowing. This practice helps draw fluids, along with germs and viruses, away from the throat. Additionally, saltwater possesses antibacterial properties, providing relief and contributing to your overall well-being.

  • Beware of Sugary Medications

Many over-the-counter medications, including cough drops and syrups, contain sugar, which can be detrimental to dental health. While prioritizing your recovery is crucial, opt for sugar-free alternatives whenever possible. If sugar-free options aren’t available, rinse your mouth or drink water after taking medication to minimize the impact on your teeth.

  • Stay Hydrated with Water

Hydration is key during illness, both for your body and your oral health. Drinking water helps maintain overall hydration levels and compensates for fluids lost due to vomiting, sweating, or reduced food and drink intake. Adequate hydration also plays a role in preventing bacterial entry into the body, alleviating dry nose discomfort, and combating the onset of a dry mouth – a concern for your Madison dentist due to its association with increased bacteria, decay risk, and other oral health issues.

  • Refresh Your Toothbrush

While research may suggest that replacing your toothbrush after an illness isn’t strictly necessary, it’s advisable to err on the side of caution. Toothbrushes should ideally be replaced every three to four months, and it’s a good practice to get a new one after recovering from an illness. During the transition, ensure you rinse your toothbrush thoroughly with hot water to eliminate lingering bacteria.

As we navigate the cold and flu season, safeguard your family’s health by disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, encouraging proper sneezing and coughing etiquette, and promoting regular handwashing. While we wish you a healthy season, if illness does strike, remember to prioritize both overall and oral health for a swift recovery.