When you’re not feeling your best, it’s all too easy to fall behind on your daily oral hygiene routine. The problem is that, in doing this, you may actually prolong unwanted symptoms, and you could increase your risk of developing serious oral health issues, like cavities and gum disease.
There are steps that you can take to care for your smile during illness, and our Elmhurst dentists have put together this short overview to help you optimize your oral health.
The first thing to do is to follow all of your dentist’s recommendations when it comes to cleaning your smile morning and night. If you’re bedridden, or too fatigued to do so, try keeping some oral hygiene tools within reach near your bed. You can, for example, floss throughout the day to clear away newly developed plaque. Try to rinse your mouth frequently, as well, so as to kill additional oral bacteria.
Many people suffer from dry mouth during illness. This can occur due to the illness itself or due to medications the patient is taking. Unfortunately, dry mouth creates an ideal environment for bacteria to grow and spread throughout the mouth.
- Drink plenty of water to help you stay hydrated; this allows your body to produce smile-boosting saliva
- Rinse your mouth with water throughout the day, especially after eating or drinking something other than water
- Run a humidifier in your space if the air is particularly dry
If you are sick and vomiting, it is very important that you clean your smile after getting sick. Vomit contains stomach acids, which can damage oral tissues and enamel. Here’s the key: you don’t want to brush your smile right away, as your enamel will be temporarily softened for 20 to 30 minutes after acid exposure (brushing at this point may lead to enamel erosion). Rather, rinse your mouth immediately, and wait a short time to brush your teeth.
We hope that you now have a better idea of things that you can do to care for your smile during cold and flu season. As always, our Elmhurst dentist are here to answer any questions that you may have—give us a call to get started!